Thursday, October 20, 2011

The sun'll come out

For the last week we lived what I think most would characterize as a generally depressing weather situation: an unrelenting oscillation between pouring rain, drizzling rain, and clouds threatening to rain.

I should say straight off, rain is a blessing. There’s nothing nicer than lying back in your bed at night, falling asleep to the rain on your roof, rejoicing with the thirsty corn, the thirsty forest, the thirsty people. The point of this post is not to rag on the rain, as I am sure there have many heartfelt prayers of thanks to the rain during mankind's time on this planet.

Even so, after a week of waking up to rain, you notice that it feels like you’re on an extendedly crappy camping trip in the Adirondack mountains of upstate NY during a wet spell. When you live in an almost windowless cement box, you become permeated with cold, moldy damp. A leak burns out the light in your kitchen, which won’t be fixed until the puddle on your roof can dry out. Neither countertops nor floors seem worth cleaning. Showering is an unappealing task in an environment, which, both inside and outside, maintains itself at a breezy 55 degrees. Baskets are molding, your clothes are molding, you yourself seem to be molding.

With a regrettably non-functional laptop and your whiny cat as sole companion, you can only bundle up, accept a dip in productivity, and hold onto the knowledge that someday the sun will come out. Read a book, make some hot chocolate, and get over that week's doomed to-do list.

Growing up in a thoroughly climate-controlled environment, with TV to distract me from whatever change in weather might come my way, I didn’t really understand until now the literal meaning behind Annie’s famous song - nor the importance of holding on to that mantra of optimism.

I get it now, because the sun came out yesterday. It’s still out now. For no reason, other than that, I feel sublimely happy. I know I'm not the only one, because most of my colleagues posted Facebook status updates about it within two hours of the first rays of sunlight. (You truly can't imagine that collective sigh of relief. It was palpable.)

After a week living under the pouring rain, I don't need a PhD in physiology to say that we are hard-wired to need sunshine. Nor do I need formal study in anthropology to understand why a culture would place the sun at the head of their pantheon.

The sun really is everything for us. Not just the basis of almost every food chain on the planet, and very nearly everything we eat, nor just the driving force of our environment. It's the basis of our daily rhythms as well. I can say it now, but I can only understand it because I lived it then. The sun sustains not only our physical being, but our spiritual as well. It's no small coincidence.

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