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Father’s Day Walk Around the Grand Story of Earth

I had a great Father’s Day!

Let me share with you the results of a wander around the outskirts of Kuarka Dorla, the Wadawurrung name for the town I call home. I pay respects to Wadawurrung elders past, present, and emerging.

Grasstrees (Xanthorrhoea australis) line the walking track

Firstly though, I’ve got an itch, can I just jump right into some technical stuff?

*puts glasses on*

An increase in the photoperiod since the southern hemisphere winter equinox on the 21st June, in combination with the resulting increase in temperature has stimulated our angiosperm autotrophic friends to commence flowering and produce an inflorescence.

Phew, thanks, just had to let that out!

Let’s do a slow translation.

If you’re reading this then you’re probably already a fan of the colourful displays that plants adorn themselves with, flowers! Thus making them irresistibly attractive to their pollinating insect partners, who by the way are also very amusing to observe in their various missions at this time of year. They also become irresistible for naturalists and their photo-taking habits.

A European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) gathers pollen and in turn pollinates grasstree flowers. A Bull Ant (Myrmecia sp.) carries some sand away from the nest.

The reason all this happens is one of the great stories of our planet, and as a species, we’ve finally got a lot of it figured out. Contemplating this incredible planetary cycle is worth doing occasionally, lets have a quick go here, starting with some astrophysics.

It starts with the wonderful situation we find ourselves in as we take a 365.24 days long journey around Sol, tilted on an angle that fluctuates around 23 degrees from the north/south axis. Being on such a tilt creates our seasons, with differing daylight hours and dramatic differences in temperature, as one hemisphere receives increased solar irradiance compared to the other.