The Blink of a Wolf’s Eye

The wolf was watching me from just outside the campsite, I told the boy. It took just 3 nanoseconds for a stream of photons to dart from my military-grade flashlight into the eyes of that wolf.

“That’s pretty fast,” the boy said. “How do you know?”

It’s simple math, I told him. Aren’t you curious about the wolf?

He shook his head. “The math sounds fishy.”

I explained. The speed of light divided by 20 feet–the wolf was that close–is 3 nanoseconds for the light to get from here to there.

“And back?”

What do you mean?

“Did it take 3 nanoseconds to get there and then 3 more to get back from his eyes to yours so you knew that the wolf was there?”

I allowed as how that must have been the case, but at that speed it might as well be an instantaneous transfer of light energy.

“I suppose you’re right. There isn’t much difference between 3 nanoseconds and 6 nanoseconds.”

Not to us, there isn’t. Nanoseconds are just constantly flying by, just zooming by so fast we don’t even notice them.

“I’m going to check your math later,” the boy said.

You go ahead and do that, I told him.

“So what did the wolf do?”

Well what else would a wolf do? It blinked, of course, then it ran away.

Words in #writeoutloud are for warming up, stretching, keeping the writing muscles loose and flexible.