This past spring, I was giddy about being outside more regularly again- more than usual. I'd wrap up school mid-afternoon, gather my stack of bee books and sit out back on our crude brick patio.
I'd hike up the bottoms of my pants and roll up my sleeves, alternating reading and tilting my head back with eyes closed to soak up the sun. After days of this, my skin moved from pasty white to a hint of color and I could just feel my vitamin D levels rise. I was warming up to being outside again and it was lovely.
Unlike most teenagers and young adults, I was afraid of the sun. I had been badly sun burned when I was a child and I clearly remember having to spend an entire vacation at the beach inside, taking cool baths and hardly being able to move my scorched and stiff body. As a teenager, I used sunscreen in my moisturizer- protecting my face even during the winter months and in the summer chose shade.
I'm not afraid of the sun anymore. Sure, If I'm going to be outside all day in a bathing suit (a rare occurrence) , I'll use sunscreen but for around the house I've learned to trust the sun and the good that can come from it- warmth, vitamins and an improved mood.
I realized the other day that I am hardly outside this time of year. School, laundry, housekeeping, tending the fire, and meals made from ingredients already inside keep me house bound. Sure, there are weeds that could be pulled up and more pine needles spread on the blueberries, but I don't have to stare at those needs most of the day, so I concentrate on the ones before me- the ones inside.
While this is practical for right now, I need to get out. I need to take a book outside on sunny days and soak up some sun. I need to appreciate the fall as much as I appreciated the spring. Depending on the chill, I may not roll sleeves and pant legs up so high, but I can still tilt my head back and relax in it's warmth. Let my mind be quiet for a spell, then follow the antics of squirrels and birds and falling leaves, closing my eyes in the warm again.
The inside chores can wait.
Wind in the Leaves (author unknown)
"Come, little Leaves," said the Wind one day,
"Come over the meadows with me and play;
Put on your dresses of red and gold;
Summer is gone, and the days grow cold."
Soon as the Leaves heard the Wind's loud call,
Down they came fluttering, one and all;
Over the fields they danced and flew,
Singing the soft little songs they knew.
Dancing and whirling the little Leaves went;
Winter had called them, and they were content.
Soon, fast asleep in their earthly beds,
The snow laid a coverlet over their heads.
From Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected For Boys and Girls