Science in the Morning

October 5, 2008

I cannot say that the past month and a half has been among my most productive, but it is a fact I am used to realising around this time of year. When the days grow shorter and the year slowly approaches its end, I simply do not feel like creating, be it either pictures of writings. My muses leave me on each cloudy day, but I cannot blame them; I wish I could do the same.

Most of this morning I have spent lost in the world of a book. Had it been a novel, I assume I would have been excused, but it was no novel, no fictional work of written art. Had it been university course literature I would have been worthy of an accolade for my motivation to succeed, but neither was it that kind of book. No, as usual, I was lost to the realm of science; a field wholly unrelated to my current studies, a field taunting me with all the achievements it requires before one is deemed worthy of entering its lines.

Outside the winds are howling, determined to scar an aging land more than what is called for. The trees may be on fire, there is no doubt, but neither rain nor wind can extinguish them. These blazing fires will cease when their time has come, and then the wind will strip the last colourful leaves of the dark tress’ branches. Not before.

The rain which falls is cold and heavy, and the farther the distance from where I gaze the softer it appears to be. Across the immediate lands within my view the rain has formed a soft mist, a whisper of summer’s rain. It veils the landscapes while they await the arrival of winter, a month and a half from now, give or take.

Sheltered from the outdoors’ cold I sat, my foot moving like the tail of a delighted dog. Surely, I had much better—more productive—tasks to tend to, but for the moment I was content with paying them not a single thought. Neither the weather nor the season matters to me whenever scientific writings are near. In a season of no sunshine, in a season of rain and howling winds, science is my sunshine, much like it should be the inspiration of the whole world.

The season of autumn has come. The leaves have all turned red, orange and yellow. It is in contrast to the crisp cold of the soon arriving winter. Nature seems to be on fire. The colors bring warmth to my days and my only sorrow is that that the warmth of the burning leaves is only in my mind. When cold winds blow, I wish that the warm colors could erase the chill and make me experience the summer’s gentle breeze one last time. One never appreciates the last breeze of the year – all because one does not expect it to be the last. We reason as it being so that tomorrow the breeze will once again gentlytouch our skin … or maybe the next day, if not the day after tomorrow. But I have longed for that soft touch too long now that I have come to understand that my desire is based on no facts.

The leaves of the trees are burning, but no fire lasts forever. It burns for a while before going out. A last breath similar to the last breeze of summer. What once was green has gone up in flames – glowing for a short period of time before being turned into the every day grey ash we all are bored with seeing. The chilly winds that characterize autumn greedily collect the burning leaves. Their cold claws make the leaves abandon their trees and silently fall to the ground. The wet ground makes the blazing fires go out. The dark pavement’s hard surface and the constant tap-tapping of shoes turns the redness of the fallen leaves to a grey, unidentifiable mass. It looks like wet newspaper with a tint of brown – the ultimate proof of that nothing lasts forever.

The sun has not been shining for weeks. Ocassionally it has peeked out, teasingly, from behind the clouds. Of course, that is when one is inside, sighing, wondering why life is never fair. Why is it so that life is a contstant battle for survival. We are no longer the prey of wild animals, something one would call a success. We are however the prey of our own kind, the people who are more greedy than the chilly winds of autumn. The kind of winds that turn the blazing redness of the abandoned leaves to the wet mass that cover wet pavement.

I do not like the word “fall.” There are so many things which are falling in the modern age of man, especially man itself. He seems to be at the mercy of the elements, and his misery is only accentuated by the season of fall. “Autumn” expresses some emotion, a glimmer of hope in an otherwise mundane world. The world is mundane, there is no doubt. At least not at the first glance. The members of mankind who roam the streets are gloomy, their faces pale. Their non-existant summer sunburns are since long gone. Pale and grey their faces appear to be, the grey clouds impede the sunlight from ever reaching their homes. Their smiles have been washed off their faces by the occasional rainfall. No season better symbolizes the fall of mankind better than fall itself.

As the leaves fall, so does the spirits of the common masses. Some try to smile and to be happy, but the sun is long gone. The November issue of Scientific American found its way to my mailbox, in the middle of all misery. I have never before read the whole issue in one day – that was how much time I had on my hands – rare hours I spent on a magazine. One of the most intriguing articles featured in it was the one titled: Cell Defences and the Sunshine Vitamin” by Luz E. Tavera-Mendoza and John H. White. The authors argued that deprivation of sunlight does not do man any good. The fairness of Northern European skin has enabled the people of the north to produce vitamin D through ancient times. The modern age has however brought a new style of life, one which deprives the people of their vitamins. This deficency has affected their health. They suffer from cancer and weakened immune systems. And no food can not make up for the lack of sunlight, all we can rely upon are dietary suppplements which tell stories of future dystopias. The article further states that during the summer the whole body exposure of sunlight makes up for part of the loss of vitamin D.
Me, loving to be kissed by the sun, often walk around in light clothes. I felt that maybe I had a chnace of at least being healthy in summer. I thought so reading the whole article until I came to the last page where a map was presented. It showed my home as lying in an area where the sunlight exposure is “insufficent most of the year.” In my own mind I theorized that the lack of sunlight I have been growing used to partly is to blame for my current state of mind.

I keep telling myself that one day I will not have to take the mundane colors of grey, I will not have to rest my eyes upon the pale people on the streets who have given up on life. One day, I will be kissed by the sun every day. But those days are too distant for now for me to draw strength from. Right now, I am yet another pale face for others to see, for others to feel sorry for. The majority of people never accomplished their goals, they never pursued their dreams. Eventually, they gave up on life, accepting that the mundane was their destiny. They will never be happy and they will never feel content. Perhaps the atmosphere which surrounds these people with no hope affects me more than I wish to realize. For, I am very sensitive to the feelings of others. The paleness of my fellow men’s skin coupled with the northern hemisphere’s deprivation of sunlight makes a doubtful I. Are the choices I am about to make the right ones for me?

Stockholm From Above One Day In The Middle Of Summer

Head turned to the ground, my face facing the wet pavement, I watch as my black shoes plow through the fallen fires piled up on the ground. Above me, some fires are still burning, the heat being imaginary in my head. Everything in nature seems to have reached a point of sudden death – the absence of the sun has made everything suicidal. The trees abandon their leaves, leaving them at the mercy of the greedy and chilly winds which blow over the world of grey. My tap-tapping shoes on the ground are part of the reason for why the leaves’ fallen fires are slowly turned to grey ashes. As the rain started to fall from the heavy skies and I longed for a day which still is far, far away, I asked my rational self the eternal question:

Would it not be wonderful if leaves were not fallen dreams?