Sunday, January 18, 2009


There's more to solar power than charging your cell phone and heating your shower. There's more to it than glorious colors at dawn. The sun's path can be a powerful connector to the rhythms of nature. It can point our imagination to the Earth's ancient dance around the Sun. It can shape architecture into the timeless geometries of the day and year. 

"The days are getting longer," we say, stirred by a vague awareness that the light dims 10 minutes later than it did a month ago. If we lived outside, we might notice the sun rising at a different place on the horizon than it did two weeks before. We might perceive the sun higher at noon. By following the path of sunlight across the sky, can experience a deeper connection to our place on Earth.

A simple way to do this is to mark how sunlight enters your house or apartment at the time you usually eat breakfast. In the coming weeks and months, notice that at the same time of day, the sunlight is in a different position and falls place on the floor or wall. If you lived closer to the equator or north pole, the position and angle of sunlight would change to reflect those places on the globe. 

Marking the changing angle of sunlight it not just an intellectual exercise. Bees find their way back to the hive by sensing the slant of the sun. The position of the sun effects climate and the growth of plants. Noticing the specific relationship of sunlight to the place where you live is a simple, powerful way of sensing your place in the timeless patterns of ecological change.

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