Bright, bold streams of sunlight flood across my eyelids every morning. When I wake, the sun rises to etch out the contours of the windowpane grid onto the wall across my room. I can just make out the shadow of my fingertips as I stretch the sleep away.
I’m grateful for many things: my wonderful friends, the promise of a beautiful autumn and the $5 Daily Devil Deal at Sazón. But, right now, I’m most grateful for sunlight. We’ll be getting less of it as we enter the colder months and Earth’s axis officially tilts away from the arc of the sun—before then, I’m soaking up the lingering drops of pre-equinox light.
In the spring and summer I lived in a south-facing room, which meant I could follow the sun’s path through the day from left to right, east to west, sunrise to sunset. We became well-acquainted with each other during quarantine; instead of spending my day with people, I spent it with the sun. For months, seeing the sun got me through the onslaught of virtual classes and Zoom meetings and symptom monitoring. And bad hair days.
I moved into an east-facing room recently, which means I get to start my day alongside the sun. I keep the blinds open at night—not because of a disregard for my own privacy, but because I want to wake up wrapped in morning light. When I open my eyes to grey skies all I want to do is close them again.
I’m not surprised that seasonal affective disorder weighs down on millions of us every winter. I’m not surprised that in turn, they sell light therapy lamps, perhaps more descriptively referred to as “10000 Lux Happy Light Therapy Lamp for Lack Sunlight Can Improve Mood for Work from Home.” What a convenient and accessible cure! Thank you, Amazon!
So much of our language for describing the relentless vibrancy of life and creation evokes the incandescence of the sun, like how our expressions “light up” and “beam” in moments of joy. But it has only recently dawned upon me just how vital sunshine is, literally, for my vitality. When we’ve spent the entirety of imaginable history spinning around a yellow star, no wonder it has us eternally anchored.
The sun isn’t always, well, sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, I really hate it. Usually it’s on that eternal walk across BC Plaza when it’s midday and oh my God why did I wear jeans today and why is my bag so heavy and wait if I take my mask off are people gonna see my sweat mustache? It’s those times when I remember that in Albert Camus’ “The Stranger,” Mersault shot a man because he couldn’t escape the scorching sun.
But suddenly it’s dusk and I’m sprawled outside after a shower. The sky is soft and pinkish-golden like my skin. As I watch it dip out of sight, I realize I’ll miss the red smudge until it comes back in the morning a bright and fresh yellow.
I like that the sun’s rays draw bronze tattoos across my body when I lie in them. I like that the heat colors the inside of my eyelids scarlet when I close them. I like that I can see sunlight beaming across my friends’ faces, and their smiles beaming right back at me. And I like that I can always rely on the sun to be perched high in the sky tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and after and after and after and after.
Always and forever,
-Megan Liu, campus arts editor
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