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On The Benefits of Sunshine and The Importance Of The Clouds

August 8, 2012

Remember that first day of spring when the winter clouds parted and the sun’s gentle gaze washed away the dullness of the cold? There was a glow on your cheek and a warmth in the heart, a brief understanding of your place in the cosmos.
The sun had returned.
Windows and doors were thrown open with gratitude, no longer held captive by the cold. The dull grayness that had distinguished the fall and winter months dissipated from the mind with the clouds.
Away with the darkness! In with the light!
Children frolicked and parents basked. Young couples met in sunny parks and strolled along with their hands joined together.
Spring! The gentle touch of spring.
Summer arrives.
The sun begins to stay later and later, lingering a little bit later each night before disappearing behind the mountains in the west. The more times spent under the fierce gaze of the sun, the more changes come over you. The intensity becomes unbearable at times.
Children splash in the fountain to cool off while their parents watch from a spot of shade sipping on cold drinks. It’s too hot for couples to hold hands. They are sitting beneath the shelter of branches on a bench in the park, silently eating dripping ice cream cones.
People begin to retreat back into their homes. You can feel the sun glaring at you through the windows of your living room. Mothers tell husbands to get the fans out. Husbands are relieved to remember where they had hidden them but chagrined to discover that the ten months of disuse have ruined the motor somehow. He resolves to fix it himself and opens it up in the garage. But the sun will not be ignored. His sweat drips into the motor as he peers confusedly at the tangle of wires and dust. His wife tells him to buy a new one. The family retreats to the frigid comfort of a retail store, grateful to be under the sterile white lights and out of the burning gaze of the sun.
People begin to call for the return of autumn, saying it was never like this when the clouds were here. At least there was some variety then. The sun looks on with increasing ferocity, unmoved by the suffering of humanity.
Children sequester themselves away with their video games, with the unceasing drone of a fan for company, while parents bicker in the living room to pass the time. Young couples have become irritable from the heat and have channeled their irritation toward each other.
Here we are now, under the sun’s fiery gaze, looking forward to sunset, praying for the return of fall, before the sun burns the forests and saps the fields.
There will be a day when the clouds will gather and say, “Enough is enough,” and they will block the burning gaze of the sun. The world will breathe a sigh of relief. The singed leaves of the trees will turn golden and drift away; the landscape will be dry and barren. The clouds in their sorrow will weep, soaking the earth with their tears. Children watch the rain fall outside the windows of their classroom, while parents are too busy at work to notice. Young couples are afraid to drive in precipitous conditions.
The lingering heat from the sun and the cold begins to creep in. Sweaters appear, recovered from the darkness of the closet. The cold begins to affect the weepy clouds and soon flakes appear. Just a few.
The cold seeps through the windowpanes. Couples bicker about turning on the heat; the husband is concerned about the bill until a look from his wife changes his mind. Snow sweeps in with full force and people begin wondering about the sun:
“I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in ages.”
“Little bit too much variety if you ask me.”
Families gather into the same room for warmth while a fire roars in the fireplace, an effigy of the sun. The cold seems like it will never quit.
Then comes that first day of spring: a gentle kiss of vitality.

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