Bliss Notes: Sun sun sun, here it comes

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Although there are many wonderful things about summer, our favourite thing has to be the abundance of sunshine. Sunshine is nature’s cure-all. Ten minutes of exposure to the sun can give the body its daily dose of Vitamin D. As long as you sunscreen up and throw on some protective shades (this summer it’s all about old-school Ray Ban aviators), I say bring on the sun.

One of the simplest ways to take advantage of the sun’s rays is to make sun tea, a no-boil version of iced tea. There are as many recipes for sun tea as the day is long but we like to put 3 big teabags (we love Rishi) and 4 cups of water in a glass pitcher. Cover the pitcher and place it in the hot sun for a minimum of 30 minutes. Fill a glass about half full with tea and then add cold water and ice. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Then sit yourself down on the porch, stretch out like Maggie the Cat and find some young Brando to peel you a grape.

One cannot always rely on external factors like a sunny day (or a young Brando) to bring on the bliss. Anthony J. D’Angelo instructs, “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.” Thich Nhat Hanh was able to see the sunshine in a sheet of paper: “If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. Without sunshine, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper.” That may be fine and dandy for the enlightened people in the room, but on a rainy day I need a little more help than a sheet of 8 1/2 by 11.

I relate more to William Thackeray who said, “a good laugh is sunshine in the house.” I like to surround myself with funny people and watch funny movies. The next time it rains, seek out a theatre playing The Way Way Back. If you don’t laugh yourself sick during the waterslide scene, I’m afraid we can’t be friends. A John Candy/Steve Martin film fest also works: I must have watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Parenthood each a dozen times. Ditto for Wes Anderson movies. I defy you to watch Bill Murray in Rushmore and not smile.

One of the quotes that resonated with me this past year is from Albert Camus: “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”It’s true. Keep calm, look up, and never give up hope: summer is on its way. No matter what the local weather channel says, all of our days can be sunny ones.

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