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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

The sun on my face right now is so good. I want to be a cat.

Imagine having a whole day of lying in a patch of sun, no Apple watch buzzing your wrist to stand up every hour, no chores nagging you to do them, no responsibility to write blogs for clients or figure out what to defrost for dinner.

No time tracking app making you feel like you should be doing something else.

Just going from sun patch to sun patch, sprawled out wherever it happens to be.

I was up today, as I’ve been every day in recent memory, somewhere around 5:30 so I can get in all the requisite exercise, do the email, do the daily planning thing, probably wash last night’s dishes, and have a minute or two to think. Or not think, as the case may be, and just sit in a sunbeam.

I decided to come outside onto the balcony for breakfast. I stuck my head out the door and it was – for a blessed moment – quiet. Even the humidity cooperated. So I plunked myself down to eat, write, and bask.

Mostly bask. It turns out that when the sun is shining in your eyes so that you can barely open them, it’s the ideal time to stop thinking and doing, and just sit there and be warm.

I’m not the only one who likes to bask.

Of course I had forgotten what a nightmare it is to live here. I had five seconds of sitting before the shrieking beeping started. And in 15 minutes I’ll have to deal with my eardrums being hammered by church bells.

But a minute to sit and be toasted is quite restorative. Maybe I was bread in another life.

It would explain a lot.

Gone are the days of baby oil and lounge chairs, but my love of the sun has not changed. I turn into a vitamin D-deficient vampire every winter, remedied only by the glimmering hope of springtime sun.

There’s a light you can buy that allegedly mimics sunlight. You’re supposed to sit in front of it for a half hour a day to improve your mental state or something. Someone recommended it, so deep in the recesses of a gray December, I bought one.

It’s about the size and thickness of a magazine. You prop it up in front of you on a little plastic stand and stick your face in front of it so your body thinks Oh joy! And is fooled into believing it is indulging in the glory of the sun. All your happy hormones get activated and there are parties and tooting of horns.

Except it’s a light. A light that in no way resembles a sun, and I’m not all that swift sometimes but my hormones aren’t stupid, and they didn’t buy it.

I can’t even believe anyone actually sells this light, it is not that different than a snake oil salesmen offering you a bottle of tobacco spit and calling it whiskey.

Do you know what’s like the sun?

The sun.

It does a really good impression of being warm and bright. It may not be summer in this picture, but can’t you feel the sun in your eyes? The sun, which is not the same as a light in your face.

Waking up to sun on your face is better than an alarm clock, even an alarm clock that pretends to be sunlight. I had one of those, remember? If it worked, the net effect was to make me feel like someone was shining a flashlight in my face. Also not the sun? A flashlight.

Nothing compares to the transformative power of sunlight. It grows tomatoes and dries up puddles. It can, if you wait long enough and have a decent rock, cook your egg.

Sun at just the right angle over the ocean will turn it into a pool of silver worth more than all the precious metals in the world.

It also has a lot of other cool tricks up its sleeve, like turning clouds pink and water drops into rainbows. Could a cloud do this without the sun?

It can turn seagulls into glittering diamonds. Once, after a storm in Brigantine, there was a rainbow that arced from one side of the island to the other. Everything under it was painted in a golden sunlight. As if to celebrate the occasion, a flock of seagulls suddenly took flight and the sun caught their wings, a hundred glittering souls scattering across the sky. There was no way to capture this in a photo but for a moment I tried. For the rest of the moments I just stood there in awe and watched.

That stunning arc of color is called a rainbow, but is that really fair, when it happens because of the sun? Think about it. It doesn’t have to be raining. Sometimes the sun just likes a particular cloud and will plunk one right in the middle of nowhere, a little crescent of color growing from a puff of white. There is such a thing called a sunbow, though, so I am marginally pacified. It happens when sun shines through mist, creating a sort of halo that may or may not be very colorful. Honestly, I think the sun got jilted on this one.

Clouds, too, get a lot of press for being so wildly diverse in their moods and attitudes, for taking on the shape of everything from a sailboat to a Tyrannosaurus. Clouds got a blog long before sun. But really, these clouds have the sun to thank for its effort, this tiny glowing orange ball that is sharing its bedtime routine with the world.

Sometimes it does like to show off. Sun or phoenix? You tell me.

It often plays hide and seek.

Sometimes it points the way.

And always, it leads right to my happy place.

Photo: sun, somewhere over Arizona. Coincidentally, it was the only place I’ve ever seen a total eclipse of the sun.