Posted by: geolocke | 2015/06/08

The Memory of Starlight

In the core of a star a single photon, a bit of light is created when two atoms fuse together. The photon is in the company of countless other photons all swirling around in the intense gravitational soup that exists at the core of the star. The photon is highly energized and struggles against the star’s gravity and works its way over millions of years toward the surface of the star. Finally it breaks free of the star’s gravity and bursts forth from the surface of the star and begins its journey across the cosmos.

The photon still has many companions as it travels across the emptiness of space, but not nearly as many as existed at the star’s core. The photon continues its journey in the same direction as when it first burst forth from its star. Some companion photons strike interstellar molecules and are lost, their energy absorbed by those very molecules. Still others are deflected by gravitational waves and proceed on a new course. Still the photon continues its journey unchanged but with fewer and fewer companions.

Time passes and the photon continues its journey even though the star in which it was created burned out billions of years ago. Still carrying the energy of when it was first created, the photon exists in the constant present of that moment. The only difference is the number of companion photons as time passes. There are still many photons traveling with it, but the number is far fewer now then when if was first created. Ahead of the photon lies a planet where the photon’s existence will end. It reaches the atmosphere and many of the few companions left with it begin to strip away as they collide with molecules in the atmosphere, but the photon continues on in a straight line through the rapidly densifying atmosphere.

On a summer’s eve, an old man sits in his back yard with his granddaughter. They talk about the fun of the day and of fireflies and crickets chirping. the girl then gazes skyward and asks her grandfather where the stars came from. The grandfather replies that the stars were the first things created when God said “let there be light.” The girl in awe and wonder returns her gaze to the night sky and sees one star twinkle.

The photon enters the child’s eye and discharges its energy onto the retina of the eye and is no more. But in the very instant of the extinction of the photon, the same energy that was created untold billions of years ago in the core of some long burned out star creates a neurological chemical reaction in the retina and a signal is transmitted by the optic nerve to the child’s brain. The signal reaches the appropriate sector of the brain and is identified and registered as starlight and the event is logged in the brain’s catalog.

Later that night, as the girl prepares for bed, she kneels and gives thanks to God for all the things in her life that day. And almost as an afterthought, she also gives thanks to God for the stars. And so, in her last conscious moment of that day, the photon that was created so many billions of years before, finally returns to it creator in a little girl’s prayer of thanksgiving for the memory of starlight.

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Responses

  1. The tender moments captured!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

  2. The little girlmight have wished that she would always remember that starry starry night, when a single twinkle entered her eye and turned her thoughts to the Creator.

    Liked by 1 person


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