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Outdoors: 'Light Sings'

Trees with yellow and orange leaves surround cabins on the Interlochen campus.

I first heard the song “Light Sings” years ago when the then National Music Camp's high school drama department staged scenes from the rock musical “The Me Nobody Knows” in the Grunow Theatre.

The song became earworm fodder in 1971, when the five member pop vocal group, The Fifth Dimension, made the lyrics popular.

And around the autumnal equinox, I can't get the lyrics “the sun comes up, the moon goes down” and “light sings all over the world” out of my head.

For the record, the moon will not set until early evening this week, but on one day, the sun will shine all over the world.

The term “equinox” refers to the precise time when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the geometric center of the sun’s disk, resulting in days and nights of equal lengths. Well, almost equal - it’s complicated.

It happens once in September and once in March, and on those two days, the sun will rise due east and set due west.

But have you heard of the land of midnight sun? In summer, the North Pole is bathed in sunlight for 24 hours. And during winter's polar night, the sun never rises.

Well, on the autumnal equinox, the sun will set at the North Pole. It will rise again on the vernal equinox in March. The reverse is true at the South Pole. The poles experience only one sunrise and one sunset a year.

So curiously, on an equinox, the sun comes up over the horizon and the sun goes down below the horizon.  Consequently, for two significant days each year, Light Sings All Over the World.

"Outdoors with Coggin Heeringa" can be heard every Wednesday on Classical IPR.