Walking on Sunshine
It was only its absence that forced me to recognize its bliss-inducing impact.
Here in the South, we have lately had some dark and rainy, rainy days. The clouds rolled in, the winds blew, and it rained. And rained. And rained some more. The pauses in the downpour offered hope that it would end, only to be dashed by the next wave of showers.
At first I enjoyed the dance of the raindrops on the roof. The pitter patter was soothing and the gray skies offered an excuse to just be. To be at home with my family. To be still in our home. To not feel the pressure of going, doing, entertaining. Then the beat of the raindrops slowly succumbed to the screeches and whines and the incessant chatter inside. My children happily played outside when the wind and rain settled to a steady pace. They ran between the raindrops, jumped in puddles, created new water games. I joined them and snapped pictures, giggling at their antics. But something was missing; it grew old and I grew somber after the third day of darkness and deluge.
By the time the kids finally went back to school—5 days later—the gloom from the outside had started to creep inward. I was sluggish and irritated. I definitely needed a little breathing space, but I also needed something else.
As I left my daughter’s preschool, happily scampering from the building, free and alone, I noticed it for the first time. The sky was blue. A bright, clear, magnificent blue. The sun was flooding the sky in all of its glory. The day went on and friends were texting pictures of the gorgeous views, the beautiful day. We were in awe of the warmth and the brilliance of the sun. I sat outside on my front steps and paused. I closed my eyes and sat silently while the sun shone down on me. It both calmed and energized me. Its rays lifted my spirits and my outlook; and like a hand on my shoulder, it slowed me down to stop and savor the moment. It was only its absence that forced me to recognize its bliss-inducing impact.
Having lived in the South for nearly 8 years now, I have clearly begun to take for granted the magic and brilliance of the sun. Once upon a time, I endured the months on end without full days of sunshine that my dear friends and family in the North and Midwest still brave year after year. Even when the weather is mild, it is often gray from November all the way through April. That’s 6 months! In less than 5 days without the sunshine, how my mood soured, my perspective dimmed.
To all of you in the North who feel the full force of winter in all of its bleak fury, I applaud you, and will send you many sunny thoughts as the cold and dark days embrace you this winter. In the meantime, soak up the sunshine and its warmth. Recognize its fleeting brilliance now and bottle it up the best you can. Get outside and live in the sunny, crisp fall days.
For me, the culmination of this murky stretch was a swift reminder to revel in the everyday things, the little and the grand alike. We are so fortunate to be showered by the sun, to live beneath a brilliant blue canvas dotted with wispy white clouds most of the time. We need to recognize the power of the sun, its life-giving reach, as it continuously inspires us with a sense of joy, love, and life.
So, I offer up a nod of gratitude, close my eyes, and feel just like Katrina and the Waves put it in their 80s hit, “I’m walking on sunshine, and don’t it feel good?” Yes! It does, both inside and out!