Tuesday, March 8

A Moment of Sunshine

I sat in the cafe, eating my jacket potato out of it's polystyrene bowl with a Plastic knife and fork. it was a normal March day, dull, grey, uninspiring. I sat by the window looking out at the people as they walked up and down the high street. They walked slowly in groups, dragging children behind them, chatting to each other. Never looking where they were going. At times someone would storm past them, walking as if there lives depended on it. Two speeds of life fighting each other, all of it happening under the shadow of the clouds. The clouds that had been with us for what felt like 6 long months, with out a break.

And then, as the clouds parted, and just for a second, a ray of sunlight shot through the window, and shined upon my face. It was warm, hot even, and under its glare the world seemed to fill with colour, as if freshly painted. I saw the light, I felt the warmth. And I felt that little bit happier.

TreesWithout any pre-ample a part of my mind began to wonder at the miracle of what had just happened. The sun is ridiculously far away from us. And I mean ridiculously far away. If I was to start walking straight up to the sky, and never stop, to sleep, eat, or contemplate the impossibility of what I was doing, it would be 3,500 years before I arrived at the sun. It is so far away that it takes even light 8 whole minutes to travel from the surface to us. And before that light takes thousands of years to work it's way from the centre of the sun to it's edge.

After that it travels through a vacuum of 93 million miles. before a tiny fraction of it, around 0.00000005% hits the earth. Of that only 47% actually makes it the surface, the rest being scattered by the clouds, gas and atmosphere.

How amazing then that after this journey that lasted thousands of years and crossed millions of miles, the light should finally fall on me and make me feel that little bit happier. What were the odds!

And then my mind ran even further. The Potato I eaten existed due to the sun. Without the sun it could never have grown. It was cooked thanks to energy provided by the sun, millions of years ago when it helped the plants and trees grow that would become our oil and gas.

And that same oil was also the father of the polystyrene bowl I was eating out off and the cutlery I was using. And before our sun, Millions of other suns had to die to create the basic elements that make up oil, or that made up me!

In short, that moment, sitting in the cafe, eating my lunch, and feeling the sun warm me, only came about because of 13.7 billion years of the universe. A massive chain of cause and effect, that led, slowly, one step after the other, to a moment when, against all the odds, I could experience a simple moment of pleasure.

And then a moment later the clouds covered the sun again. The world went back to black and white. And I went back to eating my lunch.

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