Editor's Notebook: Gas Lights Don't Go Out
An appreciation for our old-fashioned, practical, lights
As ice storm warnings filled my email in-box yesterday, I worried about power going out. (So far -- if you’re reading this -- so good.) I have flashlights and D batteries on hand, and I found the can opener and put tuna and bread on the counter. We have lost power before in South Orange, though not often, and it will happen again.
It can be scary when darkness falls suddenly and the electricity fails. What I am grateful for every time is my favorite gas light, right in front of my home.
To me, gas lights are beautiful, practical objects. I know that they have as many detractors as fans, of course. There are residents who can’t wait to see them turn solar –powered, while others long for the time when lamplighters walked around town turning them on and off each day. Me, I love them.
What I appreciate this winter about the gas lamps is their constant glow. The gas lights don’t go out. Yes, think about it: gas lights stay on. They provide illumination on dim mornings, dark nights, and during storms when other lights flicker and fail. Gas lights don’t go out.
It has been a rough winter, we know. The weather is hard, and we have lost members of our community, some much too soon. I wonder if the snow will ever melt. But even in the darkest hours, we have the gas lights.
When my children were very young, and I rose in the night with them, the gas light in front of my house became a focal point in the darkness. Waking in the wee hours, I used its light to orient myself.
Likewise, I hope we can look to the gas lights as a reminder that, like the lights in the night, South Orange is constant. Spring will come, we will get out and enjoy one another, and the days will become longer and brighter.
Remember, gas lights don’t go out.