The Sun Comes Out

The sun is out and the birds are singing and my mind is racing. Right now, Harry Bellafonte sings “Sweetheart from Venezuela/Juanita” and I can either dance or write.

I just got back from my single-gloved daily post office visit, avoiding people by cutting through alleys and parking lots still covered in stones hastily thrown down by trucks so that cars wouldn’t slide during the one ice storm this town experienced this so-called winter. Those goddamned rocks are putting holes in the bottom of my boots, who’s soles I had replaced for a whopping $40 just last year.

On sunny days in this muddy Pennsylvania valley, the coffee seems to work. Finally. My manic mind, full of ideas, won’t stop. But there is a push and pull.

“I just want to sit in my chair in front of the woodstove and get down all of these brilliant (obviously) ideas before they leave my simple brain permanently!”


“Get outside in that sunshine! Pick up a spade, a rake, a paintbrush, whatever! Work outside while you can!”

Always its exclamation points on these urgent, sunny days.

When we were in Puerto Rico as pandemic set in I hid my Irish-ancestored skin from the blazing sun, kept my blue eyes always behind sunglasses, and shielded my face with a Hollywood starlet-style floppy straw hat. I lived for the sometimes twice-a-day rains that brought any break from the sun.

Still, my pale skin turned red and then brown and people back home still looked sickly white.

It’s all relative and I might as well keep adding cliche—I always want what I cannot have.

These days here in the valley if there is sun, the days last longer than when I was last here. And my pre-peri-menopausal self can bask in the sunshine at the top of a mountain I like to pretend is mine (I sometimes let my kids come along) without breaking a sweat.

And there are the small tasks—the small stupid tasks I’ve been putting off for years. Everyday suddenly feels like those boring, friendless Saturdays as a teenager, where your Dad is watching golf on TV and the only thing to do is sit in your room and play with dolls that you’ve long outgrown. I hated these Saturdays, and then longed for them as I became an over-achieving, hard-partying academic, and later as an over-performing multi-job-holding hustler with two non-stop kids. These endless Saturdays are mine again and the small becomes significant and productive.

On sunny days like this, quarantine or no, I’m grateful for all of it. And I have to write it down before I forget it permanently.

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