Sunday, August 05, 2007

Leave the Porch Light Burning

Just as I've always had a "thing" for the Ner Tamid (Eternal Light found in every synagogue ), I've always had a "thing" for a porch light. Not just any porch light, really but one that's on -- a beacon in the dark. If it has a yellow bulb or yellow glass encasing the bulb, even better.
I've always felt that the yellow bulb is warmer and more welcoming.
I know my neighborhood rather well, thanks to being a dog owner who has to become a dog walker. As I pass each home, I determine if they appear to be welcoming. Sadly enough, no.
So many of the homes in the area do not even leave on outside lights, much less yellow-coated lights. They appear to be cold-looking, giving a "leave me alone and stay away from me" attitude with the lack of illumination.
There are homes that might not have a porch light on, but they have statuesque coach lights lining their walkway, beckoning the way to the front door with their bright, white light. Other houses have some feeble lighting lining their bushes and driveways, relying on the light of the sun to light up the way.
Other homes have glaring spotlights poking up from beneath bushes and greenery enhancing their front yards. Sometimes these spotlights are colorful with red, green or yellow hints of color to guide visitors to the front door.
Conservation of energy -- is that what keeps people from keeping their outside lights on? Or is it simply that if they don't illuminate the exterior of their homes, nobody will bother them after dark?


Miriam L said...

Conservation of energy (and cost)... My husband would have a heart attack at the thought of a light being on all the time. We use motion-sensitive lights outside the house; they switch on when someone comes near. All our lights are now Compact Fluorescent, which is a white light, more or less.

One of our energy-saving devices has had an interesting side-effect. We put up dark screens on the windows to cut down on the light coming in and heating up the house. (Texas, remember.) Turns out the screens create an effective bird blind. The birds come up to the feeder even if we are standing right at the window, not a foot away from them.

muse said...

True, it can be dangerous, when the area around the door isn't lit. Motion sensitive are problematic on Shabbat.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I have two different lights at my front door amd they stay on ALL night! And I have some side lights that light up the side garden and the garage door....THEY stay on all night, too...I find it welcoming and also I like it for safety. There are lots of robberies here in Hollywood, especially in the Hills...And Many Many years ago a Police Officer told me there were three things burglers don't like...One of them was lots of light! The other two are...Difficult access that takes time, and number three, they don't want to have to make noise...So with all that in mind, I hope I have made it too difficult for the robbers...PLENTY of light was #1, btw.

joared said...

As I was growing, the only reason for leaving exterior lights on was utilitarian. If you didn't need them, turn them off.

A front porch or entryway light was only left on if a visitor was expected. Once they arrived, the light was turned off. This all had to do with controlling utility costs in our household. Of course, that also meant if you weren't using a light inside, or left a room, the light was turned off.

I do have exterior lights now, strictly for security reasons. I still turn on a special light by our front door (much like your picture) if a guest is expected, even if the security light is on.

ace said...

the bare yellow bulb is indeed a lost art.