Monday, May 07, 2007
Composer W. R. Williams said in his 1908 song “Ev'rybody's Happy When The Sun Shines.” I know I’m happier when it’s sunny out. I love sunny days, and I love to feel the warmth on my back, see the livening pastures in the morning as the shadows retreat and the sunrays get strong. Sun is a precious commodity where I’m from, Gray, Maine.
My former town’s name, Gray, is depressing to be sure. Coastal Maine is cloudy, with a lack of sunshine and what sun there is isn’t strong. It gets to you after a while.
On average, Portland, Maine has about 101 sunny days a year. Athens, Georgia has about 113. Twelve extra days of sunshine might not seem like much, but that is an addition of one sunny day per month!
“Our appreciation of sunshine is one of the most important advances of the century," remarked an eminent Canadian physician in the opening sentence in the Canadian Medical Association Journal 1927 editorial entitled “The Importance of Sunshine.” The author stated, “This means that for over four months of the year, nature usually so lavish in her distribution of the essentials for life distributes these rays only sparingly to Canada.” And sparingly to nearby Gray, Maine, too.
When I decided to move from Gray to NE Georgia, I eagerly anticipated the sunshine. “It’s sunny and warm there!” I told my parting friends. It was the thing I looked most forward to. I’ve been here for seven months and I’ve enjoyed the fall, winter, and spring. But last week there were a few days that were really hot. Egad, the temps reached nearly ninety! Locals here laughed when I told them that in the north a heat wave is pronounced when the temps rise above 90 degrees for 3 or more consecutive days. They said that that soon I can expect three consecutive months of ninety degree weather. Egad!
Immediately I began to think of the sun as a nemesis instead of the blessing I had previously thought it. I reviewed my wardrobe, now un-content with the clothing I had. I dreaded the sun now because of the heat it would bring.
And then one day while having a long, chastising conversation with myself, I told myself to get over it. I am where I am and every blessing is still a blessing. He sun was a blessing before and it still is. I know that the drought is deep, the sun is hot, and the dryness is dire. But I decided to appreciate the sunshine in good times and bad. During drought or fresh dewy mornings, whether warming the spring flowers or wilting this hot Yankee.
It is the same sun, whether shining on seeds that are scorched, and because they had no root, they withered away; and the seeds that fell onto good ground and bring forth good fruit. It is me that has moved. I decided to stay with my original mid-set and see the sun as a blessing, no matter how hot Comer gets. But I admit I did add one more thing to my growing list of things to be thankful for: air conditioning.