I’m sitting atop a darkened hill conversing over the crackle of a close burning fire silently puffing my first cigar. Earlier that evening I walked on sandaled feet, following the full moon’s glow to the decaying dock. There we shed housecoats and thrust our half-tan bodies into the shallows of the Pacific. It’s mid-summer, a perfectly respectable thing to do: paddling through black waters, the dart of our extremities igniting a symphony of phosphorescence.
"There are two kinds of light,” writes humorist James Thurber, “the glow that illuminates and the glare that obscures." He may as well have been writing about the ocean at night. In today's light-polluted world, the beauty of the night can too often be obscured by the glare of businesses dotting the shoreline. But if you look closely, beyond the man-made light, you might see something extraordinary: the quiet glow of bioluminescence.
This naturally-occurring phenomenon affects 20% of marine species. Ocean “phosphorescence” is largely due to the dinoflagellates - plankton - commonly seen at night when the water is disturbed, emitting brief bright light. The flash is designed to startle or divert a predatory crustacean, allowing the cell to escape. For centuries phosphorescence has played an important role in marine navigation, making the shoreline and shoals visible. Light emission may be seen in the wake of a large ship for some 20 miles away.
Those who have experienced the fire of blackened waters might put it more simply: bioluminescence is like swimming with the stars.
[ UPPERCASE magazine, Fall 2015]
Christina Crook is the award-winning author of The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World. She has addressed conferences, corporate teams, and universities over the past several years, sharing with them how presence and peace can be found in the midst of the cacophony of the modern world. She’s a personable and engaging speaker who shares her advice in a way that’s relevant and uplifting. Invite her to speak to your team today.