bioluminescence-under-the-southern-skyTaylor’s College sends their staff away for a morale boosting/team building weekend once a year. Pam doesn’t get to go, so last year, in a funk, neither did I. Regretfully I found out it was an exceptional resort as turtle-watching was high on the aganda. This year I agonized again. Yes, it is a free weekend, but it is pretty selfish of me. In the end, Pam, who was wise long before she got married, prevailed and I went.

And I got to see bioluminescent plankton! This was not what I was expecting. I was expecting a boring morale boosting team building weekennd filled with dumb games and long, squirmingly embarrassing performances. Instead what I got was a half-decent resort with very nice food, good entertainment from an excellent guitarist and singer, great company from my colleagues and an awesome light show in the water.

I must confess I balked a little the first night when someone suggested a midnight swim. It was well past midnight and I am an inveterate early riser. With the best of intentions I ended up doing a bunk and going to bed when I got back to my room. But the reports the following morning left me with no choice the next evening. I wasn’t going to miss what they were describing. So last night we headed down to the beach at a very respectable 11:30. There was no moon (although Mars was enormous!) so we had to pick our way pretty carefully down to the water, a hundred feet further out with the tide than in the morning.

Once in the water, I began to see sign that this was going to be something else. With every wave that came in, there was light activity (nothing like in the picture, I don’t have that kind of camera). As we waded further out and the light from the shore decreased, the light from the water increased. Now with every step little light sparkles would dance up from where we walked. They were not milky and cloudy, but rather individual points of light, like little underwater fireflies.

When you made waves with your hand the sparkles would increase, when you sent a spray of water into the air, sparkles would appear where they landed. When you raised your knees sparkles would rise from under the water to the surface, when you splashed water onto yourself, little sparkles would cling to your chest hair. When you swam, your arms would glow with a bright blue-white irridescence. It was utterly charming and almost magical. My friends and I were reluctant to leave even after 45 minutes of this. I only regret that I did not get to share this wondrous moment with Pam. But I am going to take her there the first chance we get.

A biology teacher can explain to you that “Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. Its name is a hybrid word, originating from the Greek bios for living and the Latin lumen meaning light. Bioluminescence is a naturally occuring form of chemiluminescence where energy is released by a chemical reaction in the form of light emission.” What he or she won’t be able to tell you is why. Neither are they likely to accept your explanation that God simply delights in making the world beautiful and a constant source of awe and joy for those He has blessed with the capacity to see and appreciate His creation. Knowing this makes it all the more delightful.

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