The sun rises on the eastern horizon on this early April morning. I stand here in an open field waiting for the view to unfold. Early light allows me to see the new color of the season. Of course, that color is green. While it is true that I will miss the open and lonely landscape of winter and distant views in the forests and fields, spring brings new life to every corner of the horizon. Trees are breaking leaves on distant mountains; hedge rows sway in the breeze at the edge of nearby fields and show the white blossoms of the shad bush. At my feet white violets are peeking out between blades of green grass. The world seems a stunning place on this spring morning.
The vernal season evokes the feelings of new life, hope, enlightenment, happiness, and bliss. The world is green on this April day and I feel full of life. It is unusual to celebrate spring in full bloom in these parts at such an early date. History would tell us there should still be patches of snow on the ground, ankle deep mud on dirt roads, and cold winds out of the northwest. Instead, and without regret, I stand here looking at green leaves that have opened on trees, emerald colored field grasses that easily cover my boots, dandelions about to bloom, and many other plants reaching for the sun with each lengthening day.
I wonder if I should be concerned about this very early spring season. Is it the effect of global climate change, a pattern that we can expect to see off and on over the next decades to come? Or is it an anomaly, an event that we do not expect to be repeated, at least with any significant frequency. I know I should be concerned. I know that our planet has significant problems. But on this day, at this moment, I only want to enjoy and appreciate the miracles of life. I want to feel the warmth of the earth. I want to smell the first flowers blooming. I want to see a sea of green surrounding me and evoking memories of all of the springs past, and all that will come in the future. I want to be thankful for this greatest of all beauty and appreciate the fact that I can witness the opening of a new day.
With each day getting greener and greener I feel like I am witnessing a miracle. Green is symbolic of light energy being converted to sugar. If humans were to invent photosynthesis it would be considered the greatest invention of all time. Changing energy to life is a marvel that is difficult to comprehend. It is way beyond awesome. It is the essence of true creation.
The first organism to use photosynthetic was likely a cyanobacteria. It is thought by some that these may have morphed into the first green plant-like life, green algae. Over the next few million years green algae may have evolved into the first aquatic or marine plants utilizing photosynthesis, and eventually some of these changed, over millions of years, to terrestrial plants; most likely in areas where tides exposed plants to both air and water environments.
Plants that utilize photosynthesis have structures in their outer leaves called chloroplasts. These chloroplasts contain chlorophyll and other pigments like beta-carotene and anthocyanins that are stacked in thylakoids; structures found in chloroplasts. The pigment chlorophyll absorbs red and blue light and reflects the green wave length. The red and blue wave length are utilized in converting light energy to chemical energy within the thylakoid. The energy conversion is stored as a chemical referred to as ATP. At this point six molecules of water and six molecules of carbon dioxide create one molecule of sugar plus a little extra oxygen through a process known as the Calvin cycle. There are all sorts of modifications to this process that allow plants to live in drier climates and conserve water where there is very little of this precious resource. These are all evolutionary changes that defy my imagination.
As a witness to this greatest of all miracles: life, I stand here with my heart open and my spirit free. As the sun climbs higher into the morning sky I feel its warm energy on my face. The rays kindle my spirit. My head is full of hope, my sense of humor is bright, and my attitude is refreshed. I see promise in each an every green plant.
I reflect on this for a moment and hope that others feel the same.
Written for www.wildramblings in April of 2010.