1465303_10100733756118910_680034869_n“Even in the winter, in the midst of the storm, the sun is still there.  Somewhere above the clouds, it still shines and warms and pulls at the life buried deep inside the brown branches and frozen earth.”  Gloria Gaither

Today is the first day of the year, and like so many winter days, it brings forth great, soothing light.  We have enjoyed the twinkling lights of the holidays, the white light of candles and hearths, and last evening, fireworks galore in the neighborhood.  Our friend sent us a holiday card of the northern lights he saw outside his mountain home.

Nature can surprise us with light shows when we least expect it.  Growing up in Los Angeles, we would enjoy visiting the beach at night, and especially when the ocean waves turned blue-green as a result of bioluminesence from an algae bloom.   Closer to home, last summer as we were walking back from the neighbor’s home, the ground beneath us turned white as squirmy creatures wriggled around us.  These were glow worms that we had never seen before.

Animals that glow use bio-luminescence and emit a cold light in which almost 100 percent of the energy used is converted into light. While fireflies use their lights for mating or for warning predators, it is not clear why glow worms glow, considering they spend a lot of time underground. Researchers think that the glow of a glow worm serves to warn prospective predators that they will not make a tasty meal. Females glow when they curl their bodies around their eggs.

The radiance that enhances nature’s illumination may be the light within us all.  Able to shine year-round if we so wish, our inner glow turns outward when we are hiking and share a simple hello when we meet someone on the trail, when we find a quiet spot and are inspired to write, draw or take a photograph, and when we take our peace and serenity gained by being outdoors and share our warmth with others when we return indoors.
“One kind word can warm three winter months.”  ~ Japanese proverb