Thursday, September 3, 2020

Sunbeams and Uncle Charlie

Remember great-great-great-great (10 x whatever) Uncle Charlie?

  I don't, either, but I can just picture him, our distant ancestor, a hundred thousand years ago, snorting, eyes flickering open with a jolt.  "Ah, morning!"  (In fact, in the morning, sometimes my mirror is mean, and says I resemble him.)  

  And, just like Great Uncle Charlie, I too sit there, staring groggily at the beautiful morning.  The Cedar Waxwings grace the yard with a surprise visit to the Pokeberry.  Their sleek gray wings are tipped with brilliant yellow, like they got too close to God's paint bucket.  The birds' masked faces are some I don't mind, a jet band around their eyes, robbers of berries.  

  And there's ol' Mister Sun, getting ready for another shift of rolling around Heaven and smiling down at us all all day.  His beams are creeping through the forest, suddenly illuminating a spider's unbelievably perfect handiwork.  "HEY EVERBODY!  LOOK AT THIS SPIDER WEB!"  Well, the spotlight is absolutely silent, but if it could talk... 

  When Uncle Charlie was surveying the ancient scenery at the dawn of Humanity, ol' Mister Sun was busily at work, too, fusing hydrogen into helium, a giant factory of everything, for, if it wasn't for him and his light, we wouldn't have anything.  

  Deep in the core, four hydrogen atoms got squished into two helium atoms, the reaction releasing a bit of light (photons.)  The photon immediately encountered a morning phenomenon and...ran into traffic. ("Ga, Monday rush hour, man.")  Slamming into another particle, it got absorbed, and that particle re-emitted a photon, and THAT one got "stuck in traffic", and so on, for...a hundred thousand years.  It takes  that long for the light to work its way out of the core!  (As far as they know.)  

  Finally, the photons reach the "surface" of the Sun, and are greeted with the sight that gladdens every commuter's frazzled heart - the open road.  And, just like the drivers on Rt. 210 once they clear Old Fort Road, boy do they gun it, traveling almost 93 million miles in...8 minutes.  

  So, as I huff and puff on my morning run, and smile up at the sunbeams smiling back at me, just think:  The light illuminating that spider web in a dewy delight first got cookin' when...Great Great Great (etc) Uncle Charlie was going about his morning, doubtless grumbling about the politicians and their ineffectual plans regarding the Saber-tooth problem.   Or something like that.   

  Boy, if he could just see me now.  Bet he'd like these wheels!  

- Josh

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