Later that same day, I went to a mirror and looked for a long time, trying to see the timeless glory of crow’s-feet, the resplendence of having survived. Instead I saw a woman in her early forties who grew up playing all day in the sun. Who knew?
~ Anne Lamott
While reading Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith this morning, I arrived at the section with the above quote, and I stopped to think about my own childhood spent playing in the sun. The quote is not about the joys of playing in the sun, but about the ravages to the face and skin as a result of a childhood spent playing in the sun. It is another gray and misty day here on the Eastern Shore. Thinking about playing in the sun brightened it just a little bit. Besides, I wasn’t looking in a mirror at the time, being hypercritical about my crow’s-feet and other lines and wrinkles.
(You should know, for the record, that Anne Lamott arrives at her own form of acceptance by the end of the chapter, but this post is not about the book. I’m just using the quote as a prompt for my own thoughts. Oh, and the photos are from the weekend, taken during the sun’s last visit.)
I grew up during a time when there were no lectures about skin cancer and damage from the sun. There were no sunscreen products to protect our young, delicate, and wrinkle-less skin.
When I do look at my own aging face in the mirror, I have no regrets about all those days I spent outside playing and basking in the sunlight. I don’t even regret my attempts at tanning (something my skin just does not do). Did anyone else out there try the baby oil and iodine combination? I wonder who thought up that kind of stuff?
I enjoyed my days in the sun, climbing trees, learning to whistle, riding my bike, walking around on the stilts my father built, tossing a Frisbee back and forth with a friend, or jumping up and down on a pogo stick. I enjoyed sitting under or up in a tree reading a book or writing in my diary, the kind with the little lock and key. I enjoyed pretending to be a character out of a television show or a movie or a book. During the two weeks in August when my parents hauled us off to the shore, I enjoyed swimming and playing in the ocean, digging in the sand or building sand castles, jumping on the trampolines at the outdoor trampoline place, and hanging out with my cousin or with a friend. I think what I enjoyed most of all was the freedom of childhood because in those days, we could be free to wander as long as we were home for dinner.
I still like to play in the sun (and the rain and the snow and the frost and the fog). The only time I don’t care for being outdoors is when it’s hot and humid, but I might learn to like that, too. Someone will likely lecture me for this, but I still don’t wear sunscreen unless I’m at the beach, and I only do it then to prevent sunburn (because it hurts!). There are other ways to cover up (hats, clothing, etc.). After reading the Environmental Working Group‘s report on sunscreens, I’m not sure it’s worth it or safe to use some of them. But that’s another subject for another time.
In other news…
The construction on the addition continues. John has been working hard. Remember when I mentioned I thought the work was going fast? Well, it’s slowed down now and although John is putting in long hours every day except weekends, the work is approaching the speed of molasses in January. It’s beginning to feel as if it’s gone on forever. There is a lack of privacy when John is here which can’t be helped since he’s working in the house now. There is also a lack of freedom for me because someone needs to be here to answer questions. I do still go out on walks, but usually stay nearby or check in once in a while.
I reckon that’s it for this gray and dreary Wednesday. I hear they got ice north of us, and that the power is out in parts of Baltimore. Looks like the Akron-Cleveland area back in Ohio got some ice on top of snow, and even Columbus (Ohio) is having a snow day because they received over 10 inches of the white stuff. I miss the snow, but feel lucky that we weren’t on the freezing end of the rain.
Thank you for dropping in. I hope ya’all have had a wonderful Wednesday. Hello and welcome to all my new visitors and subscribers.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂