My desk faces a large window and I’m blessed with a beautiful view of two large pine trees that are home to dozens of birds. From early spring, through late fall, the birds are loud and active. Staring out at those trees this morning there’s too much wind, too little sun, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s too late for spring.
Recently my doctor, in his most serious tone, told me I tested positive for Celiac Disease, and in the same breath, told me I had symptoms of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. If I wasn’t careful, SAD could lead to clinical depression.
I couldn’t help but laugh. Mother Nature has one heck of a sense of humor!
Growing up in northeast Philadelphia, regardless of the season, we were expected to be outside. Once school was out for summer, we were up at the crack of dawn, dressed and downstairs for a quick bowl of cereal and then out the door.
We’d ride our bikes for hours, only stopping for quick bologna sandwiches, then back outside to play Barbie dolls, climb trees, or play games of dodge ball, tag and red light/green light with the neighborhood kids. Once the street lights came on, we’d run home.
At night when I’d take my shirt off and get into a tub full of Mr. Bubbles, boy did that warm water sting. The pain was undeniable. It was sunburn. Mom would throw a couple of tea bags in the bath water. Once out of the tub, Mom would give me a couple of St. Joseph’s Children’s Aspirin.
After a good night’s sleep, we’d do it all over again.
Years later they warned us about how harmful the sun’s rays were to our skin. The news sent us to the store for sunscreen and large floppy hats. We lost track of how important the sun was to our well being.
Light and darkness triggers the release of hormones in our brains: Sunlight releases serotonin, the hormone associated with making us feel good. Darkness triggers the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes us tired. No wonder rainy days are so exhausting! While it’s true too much sun can be harmful to our skin, the right balance can have many positive benefits.
My doctor assured me SAD is 100 percent curable. All I have to do is go outside and play. His prescription caused a flood of happy memories. Suddenly I’m longing for a bike and friends to ride or walk with.
As I look out my big picture window, I can’t help but smile because I know spring will eventually arrive. It always does, and it will never be too much, too little or too late for me to get out and enjoy every minute of all of it.