I recently went to Tucson for a mini-vacation. I grabbed my vacation book, The Dark Forest, the second in the Three-Body Problem series (which is amazing), and sat on the couch of the Airbnb. I cracked open the book and was stunned. The pages of the book were glowing. The black text looked so black against the heavenly white pages. It was like God was pointing a flashlight at my book.
I couldn't read. I had to inspect the source of this light. It turns out it wasn't just a light, it was the light. The almighty sun.
It was a skylight. A skylight is a cut-out that replaces a portion of a roof with a see-through mesh or glass panel. This causes the sun's light to disperse through the room. I've watched Batman cut a circle into one and rappel down through it into a building. The Woman in the Window (spoiler alert!) shoved the bad guy through one. They appear to be common in grocery stores. I've never opened a book under one and therefore never paid it any mind.
Until this fateful day.
One thing is clear to me now, no lightbulb can compete with the sun. The fact that we even try says a lot about human arrogance. I get it Thomas Edison, you built a lightbulb for when the sun goes to sleep. But, since this marvelous innovation, we have decided that all architecture needs no sunlight, only light bulbs.
I'm here to say that we've made a terrible mistake. I promise you, there is no better light than the sun.
Don't kid yourself, sunlight from a window is not as powerful as sunlight from above. In this Airbnb, I felt happy under this skylight - jovial even. I was literally a better person under this light. I've never felt this from a window light but I do enjoy window light in my skylight-less home.
I've seen advertisements for lamps that mimic the sun's schedule. They are designed to improve people's circadian rhythm, and thus, their sleep and mood. A skylight solves this problem while also providing luminescence that shines directly into your soul. It also doesn’t use any electricity.
After this experience, I no longer respect lightbulbs. I acknowledge their existence and necessity but, they are poor imitations of a star. We build homes to block us from the elements and the sun. Then we mimic a cool breeze with A/C and the sun with lightbulbs. We're the only species to leave nature and then create artificial and shittier versions of it.
You best believe I'm starting a skylight piggy bank. And it's cooling down in Phoenix, so instead of running my A/C, I'm opening these damn windows.
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