tapping into solar power

June 21, 2009

I’ve just watched another stunning late sunset, this time to Yo-Yo Ma’s unbridled rendition of Bach’s Suite for Solo Cello No.1 in G Major.  I played it on a loop as the sun went down, and every time it climbed to its inevitable crescendo it gave me a thrill as if it were the first time I heard it.  I never thought the headset I bought for Skype last month would turn into a meditation tool, but there you go.

I count myself very lucky to be able to see this every night in such a big city.  And all I have to do is sit atop my dining table/desk and look out my window.   We have astonishing coral pink sunsets in Britain, and they’re even more special after the long winters.

The sun is powerful in every sense, and the longer you look at it the more you know that we are it and it is us.  I was struggling to think of a topic for tonight’s post before I sat down to watch, and now here it is.  And it’s especially fitting since I started my day in the sun’s presence with an early walk to the park while it was still quiet.  Once there, I sprawled out on the grass, rolled up my leggings, and let the sun sweep over me – that  is, until the clouds rolled in.  Ah, British summertime.  How thou doth tease.

I didn’t always have such a healthy relationship with the sun.  I grew up in Florida before the advent of the sun scare, and I recall many blistered moments during my youth.  Years later you’d never catch me leaving the house without slathering on an SPF twice my age.  But that has changed.  For me, the sun is a nutrient – as essential for us as it is for the plants that feed off its energy.  Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, are not.  I take the sun in moderation: either early in the morning or in late afternoon, and I miss it desperately during the winter.  Proof to me again that humans are meant to live in the tropics.

In this important article on safe sun exposure, Sarah Best of my favorite magazine Get Fresh! asks a very good question: how can something so glorious be bad for us?  She also reveals why a plant-based, whole foods diet is the best sunscreen of all.

Good night, sunshine.

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