Blog post no:

The Sun is Always There

Even though we cannot see it, the sun is always there.

From a bright blue sky, we broke though the clouds at just before 3.00pm. After four weeks of near continuous Tenerife sunshine, my first thought was of how grey it all looked. Sky, land, sea, flooded fields – all were grey. It led me to wonder how much our wellbeing in the UK winter months is affected by the lack of light. We talk of SAD –Seasonally Affective Disorder – and never was an acronym more apt for the condition it describes. Without realising, we can suck that grey in, into our breath, our thoughts, our emotions. If we are not careful we can become subdued, grumpy or even for some sufferers, severely depressed. We grow apt to complain at the slightest dissatisfaction. Before we know it, our conversation becomes negative as we complain constantly about the weather, the road potholes, the state of the dentistry service. In so doing, we can make our lives far greyer than they actually need to be. We forget that that lower light level gives the natural world an opportunity to rest and re-centre its energy. We fail to realise that the same is possible for ourselves.


Some twenty years ago, I was on holiday in Ilfracombe, in north Devon. Despite it being summer, our weather had been subdued. On this particular day, the clouds had made a rare decision to part and the sun took full advantage, shining down from a clear blue sky. As we climbed in the Torrs, the hills that afford a spectacular cliff top view out over the sea, we came upon a gentleman seated on a rock, enjoying the warmth and light. His long beard and worn clothing gave him a dishevelled appearance and we drew such conclusions that we wished. As we passed, he looked at me and smiled. “Nice to have the sun back, isn’t it?” I observed.


“Oh, the sun is always there,’” he replied in a most serious tone, “it’s just that sometimes we can’t see it.” Later, back in our holiday accommodation, I thought much on that response. This insightful man had taken a comment I had meant to be no more than a passing pleasantry and spoken depth in reply. That phrase – the sun is always there, even if we can’t always see it – became a maxim, almost a mantra to me.


Back in my usual seat in Costa this morning, I glance out of the window onto a grey car park where a grey bus is impeding my view of the grey sky. Grey-faced people hurry through the grey rain, their grey coats wrapped tightly about them. Tenerife it is not. But in another month the crocuses that have slept all winter will jostle colour into the world, dashing to blaze their poetry over the landscape before yellow armies of daffodils trumpet the arrival of spring. On 31st March the hour will spring forward and light will start to sprinkle the evenings once more. Until then, the natural world meditates, its steady breathing inaudible unless we stop moaning and slow our awareness enough to hear it. In our discontented winter of complaint, it is enlightening to remember that, even though we cannot see it, the sun is always there.

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