A winter storm dropped nearly an inch of sleet on us overnight. I crunched through the ice in the dark this morning to feed the animals. After emptying sleet out of the chickens’ feed tray and filling it with pellets, I turned and saw, in one of my footprints, a bright green/blue glowing spot.
Bioluminescence. There was no mistaking the colour. I carefully scooped up the bit of glowing sleet and held it in my hand. I could think of no terrestrial source of the glow. There are no glowworms in my vegetable garden, and no bioluminescent fungi. Besides, this was in the ice, not on the ground.
The spot glowed for a moment between my fingers. Then the ice melted, the light went out, and whatever had made the glow dripped to the ground.
I spent an hour online looking for any reference to bioluminescence in snow, and found none. The only explanation I could come up with for my glowing sleet was that a phosphorescent marine creature was picked up in sea spray four kilometres away, frozen, and then deposited in my garden. My stomping foot disturbed it, and it glowed briefly before, most likely, succumbing to a deadly infusion of fresh water.
What are the odds that organism would be picked up from the sea and whisked four kilometres inland? What are the odds it would land in my garden? What are the odds it would have still been alive when I trekked out to feed the animals? What are the odds I would step on that tiny organism and induce it to glow?
Very, very tiny.
I was given a tremendous gift this morning. One of those gifts that reminds me to always keep my eyes open. You really never know what you might see.