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Voices: The Earth Breathes Once a Day

by Nic Bitting ’07
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from "In the Woods in the Rain"

Sometimes in the woods during a rain, a mist develops around the base of the trees. It looks the way my breath does on a cold day—it has the same texture. Except there is more of it. Much more.

It doesn’t disappear the way my breath would. It hangs. Times like this, when I see the woods full of fog, I realize the forests are the lungs of our earth.

The entire planet takes exactly one breath every day.

During sunlight hours plants participate in photosynthesis.

The process combines sunlight and CO2 to create the organic material of our plant. CO2 is gathered by plants through pores called stomata on the undersides of their leaves. Stomata spend daylight hours inhaling.

As the moon rises, photosynthesis ceases. The stomata of plants worldwide stop inhaling and begin to exhale, releasing excess CO2 as well as oxygen.

The earth breathes once a day. In once with the sun, and out once with the moon.When I walk in the woods I begin to more fully understand this notion.