Candles, lots of them... for Earth Hour we got out all our most colourful candles and candle holders and lit them all along our big table, before going round the house, switching off all the lights, the TV, the computers. Our eyes adjusted to the low light, the gentle glow of yellow candle flame reflecting off our red clay walls, and then we each took a candle and went out to our circle. As we walked along the path the lights went out in the other houses on our property until they were just dark silhouettes outlined against the starry sky.
The children were in pyjamas and winter jackets and the cool breeze kept blowing out the candles, until only Youngest's was still alight. Amazingly there was enough glow from the stars to see quite well, even though there was no moon. The sand was cold under our feet after the first autumn rains the night before, so we didn't stay out long. Just enough time for each of us to say some positive intentions for saving energy in the future and put out some hope and love for the future of the planet.
Then we headed in to make hot chocolate (with the electric kettle) and sit around our candlelit table enjoying the reflection of all the different colours.
Soon the children were yawning and we carried candles through to the bathroom for brushing teeth.
We've had plenty of practice at going to bed by candlelight, with the power cuts we've had now and then over the last couple of years, but this time it had more of a magic through being intentional. We weren't fretting for the power to come back on, just sitting back and enjoying the calm. And experimenting with candles as camera flash!
After the children were in bed three of us sat on the sofa chatting. In the pauses in conversation the silence seemed absolute. No background hum of music or television, no computer whirr or dishwasher swoosh. We ended up going to bed early once our hour without lights was up, there was something soothing about the quiet of dim candlelight that didn't want bright lights and loud noise to chase it away. We'll definitely take part in Earth Hour again next year, if we even wait that long.