Thursday, June 13, 2013


It was a very long winter here in southeastern Minnesota. It takes a certain kind
of internal strength—some might call it insanity—to weather those five months
of short, too-often-gray days. Now, spring’s crept in tentatively…and seems
reluctant to leave.

It seems like just a few weeks ago that it finally hit me, even if the air wouldn’t yet admit it, that we were finally out of the gray winter woods. That day, I brushed my arm against the black wrought iron frame of a bench I was sitting on and nearly burned myself.

You can see why, around here, we might take the sun less for granted than most.

Few of us have ever experienced more than 
a few days without the company of shadows.

Like so many of Nature’s omnipresent wonders—like water, trees and air—even if it sometimes seems in short supply, the sun is still awfully easy to disregard. After all, few of us have ever experienced more than a few consecutive days without the company of shadows, not to mention natural warmth, light and all the sun’s other gifts. In fact, the sun’s so integral to life on earth, that its absence is utterly unthinkable.

That familiarity, no matter how we might try to fight it, breeds apathy. Like food
or water, unless we were to experience life without the sun, none of us can ever
fully appreciate its wonder. But hey, do you think that will keep this WonderMan from trying?

So how often do you think about the sun? Can you imagine how it might look and feel if you’d never experienced it before? If all the ambient warmth, light and plant-growing energy you’d ever felt had been somehow man-made?

It turns my skin darker, but has 
the opposite effect on my hair.

Here are just a few of the reflections I can imagine one might have on the wondrous novelty of natural sunlight, seen for the first time:
  • How can anything so small—it takes up only about .0005 percent of the sky—be so bright, so warm, so all-enveloping?
  • That tiny orb’s glow heats things it lands on, but not the air it passes through on the way. (Kind of like how your microwave heats your cocoa but not the mug.)
  • When I face it with my eyes closed, it turns my eyelids into fiery orange lighting gels (a perfect background to show off my little, black, stringy eye floaters).
  • It moves across the sky all day and then, apparently, sleeps somewhere at night.

  • Just after turning in, its glow lasts a while, turning clouds amazing shades of pink and orange.
  • It seems to do something to my plants that grow lights can’t—like they’re on steroids or something.
  • It turns my skin darker, but has the opposite effect on my hair.
  • The thing’s so powerful that if I let it shine on me for an hour it burns my skin.
  • It uses the spaces between trees’ leaves like lenses, focusing its light into so many circular pools, like thousands of tiny spotlights.

Can you imagine experiencing natural sunlight for the very first time? Could you see it the way a five-year-old would? What observations might you have?


Vidya Sury said...

The Sun is very inspiring to think about. There would be no life without it. Each time the rain stops and the sun breaks out through the clouds, it is as though God has appeared personally and is about to communicate with me!

:-) Thank you for visiting my blog, Jeffrey!

Jeffrey Willius said...

Thank you Vidya -- I appreciate your visiting One Man's Wonder!
Yes, the sun's among those things so vital to life that we can't truly grasp how wonderful they are! We can only try -- as you and I and so many of our followers do every day.

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