Tuesday, January 11, 2011

November light

The last time these parts saw 9 1/2 hours of sunlight was the last day in November. The darkest 6 weeks of the year are over.


Photons strike chlorophyll, electrons get pumped up, organic compounds grow. We need the sun. Not in a metaphorical sense.

Every breath you take, every thought you think, every sound you make requires energy, energy released when you break the bonds in the bread you eat.

The energy came from the sun, caught by plants, stored in bonds. The bonds get broken, our daily bread again reduced to (or, I suppose, oxidized, for you chemistry folks out there) to carbon dioxide, to water, the raw ingredients plants need for creating the stuff that ultimately creates us.

I cannot (and would not) presume to teach any religious creed in class. I do talk about this, though. Photosynthesis and respiration, molecules dancing together, joined together by the grace of sunlight, then breaking apart to release the energy within ourselves, energy needed to read these words.

The sunlight is returning. The days are lengthening.

And our lives depend on it.

Photo by Leslie.


Kate said...


Dark times this year, but the light is returning.

from the preface to a favorite cookbook, The Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown:
Rock and Water
Wind and Tree
Bread Dough Rising

Vastly all
Are patient with me

Doug Noon said...

In Fairbanks we're still 44 days shy of 9.5 hours of sunlight, but we're gaining 5+ minutes/day now, leading up to the orgy of sunlight we get in late spring/summer. But, for now, we have to content ourselves with sub5-hour days, which lend themselves to quiet reflection and noticing things that are near, like the moon. Snatches of sunlight gather on snowy spruce branches at midday, and hoar-frosted birch trees blaze like chandeliers when the light is right.

Late winter in interior Alaska is a time for getting out. The trails are good and hard. No bugs!