I. WAKING UP
If there is anything that we all enjoy, it is waking up on a bright spring morning and seeing the sunlight pouring into the room. You all know the poem beginning,—
“I remember, I remember
The house where I was born;
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn.”
You are feeling fresh and rested and happy after your good night’s sleep and you are eager to be up and out among the birds and the flowers.
You are perfectly right in being glad to say “Good morning” to the sun, for he is one of the best friends you have. Doesn’t he make the flowers blossom, and the trees grow? And he makes the apples redden, too, and the wheat-ears fill out, and the potatoes grow under the ground, and the peas and beans and melons and strawberries and raspberries above it. All these things that feed you and keep you healthy are grown by the heat of the sun. So if it were not for the sunlight we should all starve to death.
While sunlight is pouring down from the sun to the earth, it is warming and cleaning the air, burning up any poisonous gases, or germs, that may be in it. By heating the air, it starts it to rising. If you will watch, you can see the air shimmering and rising from an open field on a broiling summer day, or wavering and rushing upward from a hot stove or an open register in winter. Hold a little feather fluff or blow a puff of flour above a hot stove, and it will go sailing up toward the ceiling. As the heated air rises, the cooler air around rushes in to fill the place that it has left, and the outdoor “drafts” are made that we call winds.
These winds keep the air moving about in all directions constantly, like water in a boiling pot, and in this way keep it fresh and pure and clean. If it were not for this, the air would become foul and damp and stagnant, like the water in a ditch or marshy pool. So the Sun God, as our ancestors in the Far East used to call him thousands of years ago, not only gives us our food to eat, but keeps the air fit for us to breathe.
In still another way the sun is one of our best friends; for his rays have the wonderful power, not only of causing plants that supply us with food—the Green Plants, as we call them—to grow and flourish, but at the same time of withering and killing certain plants that do us harm. These plants—the Colorless Plants, we may call them—are the molds, the fungi, and the bacteria, or germs. You know how a pair of boots put away in a dark, damp closet, or left down in the cellar, will become covered all over with a coating of gray mold. Mold grows rapidly in the dark. Just so, these other Colorless Plants, which include most of our disease germs, grow and flourish in the dark, and are killed by sunlight. That is why no house, or room, is fit to live in, into which the sunlight does not pour freely sometime during the day. The more sunlight you can bring into your bedrooms and your playrooms and your schoolrooms, except during the heat of the day in the summer time, the better they will be....