Volume One Special Coverage: Pulling Together While Staying Apart


The Prodigal Sun

it’s nice to see the sun finally doing its job

Mike Paulus, illustrated by Ian Kloster


So, the Sun came back and that was pretty cool. Yes, the Never-ending Winter of 2013 still had a few snow squalls to squeeze out before it officially (for real this time) called it quits, but the Sun did show up again and deemed us worthy to receive its shiny rays of live-giving radiation. And there was much rejoicing.

Well, you know what? I’m not so happy about it.

Sorry, but I’m kind of pissed at the Sun. Seriously, it just left us for entire weeks at a time, no note or anything. We usually see it again towards the end of March, but this year the Sun was nowhere to be found. It stood us up. It left us by the side of the road in a completely weather-inappropriate jacket, freezing our eyeballs out, wondering if the Sun was OK. Did it get lost? Sucked into a black hole? I was worried!

But the Sun finally sauntered back – in late April – like it’s no big deal. “Oh hi, guys, what’s up? Ready to grow some cherry tomatoes in your backyard? Wanna go swimming later? Wear a hat!”

Well, what the hell am I supposed to do? Jostle with my fellow Chippewa Vallians, trying to get first in line to kiss the Sun’s scorching hot butt cheeks?

I’ll pass, thanks.

At the very least, the Sun owes us an explanation, am I right? And hey, if it bothered to stop flaming and flaring and turning my pasty skin bright pink long enough to make a heartfelt apology, I guess I’d listen. But I really hope the Sun doesn’t expect to be worshipped like some kind of god.

Hmm. Do you think I can keep this “personification of the sun” bit going for another 300-400 words? If you said “Yes,” dear reader, you lose.

Honestly, I’m totally ready to kiss the sun’s scorching hot butt cheeks. I missed that ol’ guy floating up there in the sky, being all warm and stuff. Making stuff grow. Making people happy.

Honestly, I’m totally ready to kiss the sun’s scorching hot butt cheeks. I missed that ol’ guy floating up there in the sky, being all warm and stuff. Making stuff grow. Making people happy. Because we were getting moody, my friends. People around here went from frustrated to disgusted to depressed to amused back to depressed to disgusted to frustrated. We wanted off the roller coaster. I’m glad the sun’s back in full force – it cheered us all up and stuck a big cork in our complainin’ holes.

Which reminds me. For all our talk and hilarious jpegs on Facebook about being tough Wisconsinites who still wear shorts in 50 degree weather, we’re somehow remarkably good when it comes to whipping up crap storms of cold weather complaints. So let’s be honest with our hearty Midwestern selves – sometimes winter just sucks. Especially in April. But at the very same time, snow falling from the sky down onto our city streets is still a gorgeous sight to behold, even when it’s falling in freakin’ May. We need to take the good with the bad.

For the sun’s part, it’s not doing anything too different than it’s been doing for the past few 100 million years or so. It’s just up there, plugging away with its unimaginably large nuclear furnace, forging atoms that will one day become the atomic building blocks of More Universe. Same old same old. And since a fun side effect of the sun’s restless work ethic is that we get to stay alive and do things, an occasional “thank you” uttered to the Great Glowing Orb of the Day Sky probably isn’t too much to ask. Right?

So go ahead. Look up and say, “Thanks, Sun!” (I swear no one will laugh.) It doesn’t matter when – after a long winter, before it, during it – it’s always a good time for gratitude. Even when it’s cloudy – the sun’s still up there, blasting you with its magic grow light. It melted the snow. It sprouted the buds. It put a smile on our faces.

Thanks, Sun. Keep up the good work.

Lasker Jewelers
Lasker Jewelers

Pulling Together Partners

The following organizations are currently supporting Volume One’s work in the community during the pandemic:

Lasker Jewelers

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire Inc DECI

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Pablo Group

Wisconsin Independent Network

Middle West Management

Bon Iver

Royal Credit Union

Silver Spring

Evergreen Surgical

Charter Bank

The Murty Henriksen Family

The Larry and Marie Past Family

The Dan and Kerry Kincaid Family

Anton and Rae Schilling-Smets

Brady and Jeanne Foust

If your organization is interested in supporting Volume One during this difficult time, nick@volumeone.orgcontact us.