While for the most part so far the air temperature strikes chilly, it is noticeable that the first harbingers of spring are creeping amongst us. The snowdrops, the blaze of white blossoms on the hedgerow thorn, an almost imagined dappling of yellow and green in some of the trees as the leaf buds begin to emerge from their winter dormancy. Birds seem to take on an air of urgency in their quest for just the right materials to build and line their nests. Queen bumblebees flit about checking out promising nooks and holes to begin laying the first cohort of daughter-subjects to establish their summer realm.
As we pass the spring equinox, the balance shifts towards progressively longer days relative to hours of darkness. Its significance is much more than just a date on the calendar. As the planet races over this virtual start line in its 600 million miles yearly track around our star, these northern latitudes steadily lean back into the sun's glare.
For most of life on Earth, the energy borne within the light photons are the core which drive the diverse links in the food chains all around us. Light photons cascade discreet packages of energy down the successive triggers in the chloroplasts of plants and primitive organisms. The resulting physics split the tight electron bonds of molecules such as carbon dioxide into oxygen and transform gaseous carbon into freely available sugars to drive metabolism. The process of photosynthesis and the subatomic manipulation of photons and atoms is as elegant as any observed in the giant machines of particle accelerators such as that at CERN.
Yes, it's the increasing quality of the sunlight which reawakens all around us with the onset of spring. Light photons take many thousands of years to travel from the sun's core fusion reactor on a zig-zag course to its surface and then just eight minutes to traverse the 93 million miles to the waiting organelles of a plant leaf. Subatomic high-energy particles produced by Nuclear Fusion at tens of millions of degrees liberated by a snowdrop.
With the sun radiating light photons in every direction in an ever-increasing sphere, one can wonder how far must such photons not liberated on the Earth's surface, have to travel across space and time to be liberated by some photosynthetic process on another world within or beyond our galaxy?
Conversely, how far and for how long have random photons of starlight travelled to be captured by a plant in our garden on a spring evening. Maybe emigrating as far back as the first light after the Big Bang?
Yes, spring is a wondrous event that is coming to visit once again.
Continue to take care and enjoy the coming of warm sunshine.🌿