I’ve spurned Helios for many years, heeding the warnings about skin cancer. Thanks to my Irish and Norwegian heritage, my skin is particularly vulnerable to burning. I’ve faithfully applied 25-45 SPF sunblock, worn protective clothing, and donned a wide-brimmed hat. I have stayed inside between 10 and 2. If I ventured onto a beach, I was covered from head to foot.
“You need sun,” Dr. Kim, my acupuncturist said recently. “Fifteen minutes a day. Go outside in the morning in shorts and a sleeveless shirt.”
“You need Vitamin D from the sun. Not pills.”
For the past week here in Costa Rica, I have been soaking up rays for the prescribed fifteen minutes. I’m rediscovering the dreamy sensation of Old Sol warming my skin and the meditative lull of being held in its full embrace. It is a feeling from long ago.
As a child I would sometimes stretch out in the grass at noon under the summer sun and feel waves of heat wash through me. I could see pink though my closed eyelids. The earth would practically hum.
I’ve been pondering how really it is the sun that gives us life. Most of what we eat is converted sunlight. Think of the fields of wheat and beans, apple orchards and olive trees stretching to the horizon. All in the full glory of the sun, using photosynthesis to grow and ripen. It seems like a miracle.
While still cautious about mid-day exposure, I have released my fear of Helios. Excuse me, while I put on a tank top and go sit with my old friend.