Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunshiny Days

How very hard it is to stay indoors when the sap is rising, the birds are singing and the garden is calling me to dig and weed, and rake and sow. Who wants to sit at a desk, staring at a screen when they can sit or walk or work outside and feel sunshine on their skin? Well, some folks might, but I don't.

My skin craves sunshine. I know this is not just because I spent forty years of my adult life living in sunny parts of the world like Australia and California and got accustomed to it, because I remember how I craved sunshine as a child. It was as though there was some ancient piece of programming in this English brain of mine that made it well-nigh impossible to remain indoors on a sunny day. Whenever I awoke to a morning of blue sky and slanting sunbeams I would experience an immediate and powerful urge to leap out of bed and run outdoors. 

I can still remember, vividly, the power of that bodily urge and I remember how quickly and surprisingly it left me when I moved away from England. So much so that I forgot all about it for decades until, the first spring after I came back here to live, it reasserted itself with the same force as ever. 

There was an item in the BBC news yesterday about the importance of Vitamin D to our health and about how we poor denizens of the northern latitudes who don’t get enough sunshine on our skin need to take Vitamin D supplements to keep ourselves healthy. Those same health authorities who fussed and worried and sent us all scurrying for shade and slathering ourselves from head to toe with SPF 15, are now suggesting that maybe they went a bit too far overboard and a little sun on the skin is actually a Good Thing  (just a little, mind). Not that I ever took much notice of those warnings in the first place, except that I was always careful not to burn. 

My own experience tells me that sun-craving, for people who live as far north as I do, is actually an adaptive mechanism. I am convinced that, just as the food cravings of pregnancy signal a shortage of some dietary element or another,  sun-craving is a natural and evolutionary response to insufficient levels of Vitamin D. So, as with everything else, if we remain fully tuned to our bodies and fully receptive to their messages and requests—which, by the way, tell us not only when to get out into the sun but also when it is time to move to the shade—they will serve us faithfully and with much gratitude.


willow said...

I feel exactly the same on a spring sunny day and am grateful that I only work part time and can spend time outside.
When I studied Food Science at university (many years ago now) I leant that the body cannot making Vitamin D in the UK between October and March and I have always thought that maybe as spring arrives, our stores from last summer are running low and it is a natural instinct to head outside and replenish. It may or may not be the reason I want to go outside but I've used it as my excuse to do so for many years!

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

I am like you.
The sun calls me.
As soon as it is warm enough
even if I wrap in a sweater
I am on my deck,in the garden, walking my gravel road and fields.
I find the sun healing, relaxing and energizing...

Jean said...

Hi Marion, I'm the strange woman from Exeter railway station yesterday. How lovely to meet you - my retreat had been one of those disconcertingly, challengingly magical times, and suddenly seeing a face I knew from photos to be that of a deeply like-minded women/writer/thinker was a bit magical too! I've been reading you since before your blog, when you used to write for Resurgence.

Warmest best wishes.

Elderwoman said...

You didn't feel like a stranger to me,Jean. And your sunny smile stayed with me all the way home. I've left a comment on your blog too. What a lovely meeting.

Dry Carpet said...

Hello Marian! I am sure not only, you and me but most people adore the rises of the sun. It is great that all your post are really positive and inspiring! I see you full with energy and happiness! Keep smiling and keep walking ... in the nature ;)!

Max Scheidegger said...

The sun light is motivator to go out and enjoy the blossoming beauty that is covering the workd outside. We long for the caressing sun beams during the dull winter when we are prisoners of the bad weather and now it is time to catch up.

Ladybug said...

Here in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S., we are sun-starved for much of the year. Yes, my body and mind yearn for sun and I race to absorb it whenever I can. I do agree that we need it and our bodies tell us this - not too much, mind you, so grilling 'til brown is out. Trouble is, so many don't listen, but give much ear-time to the media who give us a major scare a day, it now seems. Common sense in all things.... enjoy your writing, Marian!

Saloma Furlong said...

So glad to have found your blog -- I found it through Ladybug. Love those mountains in the background... which ones are they?

Glad to "meet" you,


Elderwoman said...

Ladybug and Saloma I am delighted that you found me. The mountains in that pic, Saloma, are in southern Crete, with the town of Plakias in front of them. A beautiful part of the world - my trip report from that area (in 2008) is online at:

Site said...

We should enjoy simple thing in life and should be grateful for the sun, for the stars and all the lovely people that surround us and make us happy. Pretty nice post!