Today the sun has shone, warmly and affectionately, cheering the day. The difference that yellow glow in the sky, the brightness that causes a squint akin to a smile, can make cannot be underestimated.
For those with MS the sunshine and its accompanying heat is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the freely given, easily absorbed dose of vitamin D is welcome and refreshing, in the context of a dull (in every sense) British spring which has thus far shown so little promise of maturing into summer.However, with this comes a heat that can quickly become oppressive. The pressing of the high air pressure converts to an illusion of high pressure on the skin, creating a sense of being squeezed that is intense and just about on the threshold of painful. Certainly uncomfortable, certainly discomfiting.
Yet the warmth cannot fail to be welcome. There is a trade off that happens in my mind whereby I am prepared to sacrifice physical sensation in my peripherals and limbs in return for this cheery, cheering lifting of the cloud cover. Somehow the world seems glossier; not just visually brighter but also happier. This is a well-documented phenomenon with plenty of anecdotal support, not least from my own experience. The darkness of the winter months invites in me a gloom that goes way beyond the skyline, sinking into my soul and swamping me like a blanket. The antithesis of this is the way the clouds disperse in spring (or early summer this year) as if lifting directly off my shoulders, taking with them the heavy burden of, if not depression itself then the threat of it, which is its equal, more abstract partner.
So today, awakening to a sky without clouds, a walk without a jacket and a right leg without any superficial sensation, the decision of what to be grateful for was an easy one. Today’s weather has enabled where it could have so easily dis-abled. It allowed a walk to school and back (ok, I admit the existence of a pac-a mac renders walking in the rain a genuinely feasible option, but in truth it is one I would rarely select). It allowed me to sit and plan lessons in the garden, pausing to listen to the chirrup of birdsong, a far preferable musical accompaniment to the usual “Classical Chillout” or Spotify playlist. It allowed me to consider the luxury of contrasts in British weather – the fact that there is such an abundance of what we Brits term “miserable weather” (that which those in drought-ridden locations might perform ritual dances to call forth). And it is the constant threat (promise?) of this “misery” that makes us all the more appreciative of days like today.
So today I give thanks for sunshine. Not sunlight (whilst all the more life-affirming, indeed life-sustaining, it is not the weak, limp haze that keeps the plants growing that I am focussed on, not for today at least). Full on, intense, burning, glaring, brilliant sunshine. Long a synonym for a cheerful disposition, today it reaffirmed its status as deserving of such an accolade.