Sun Worshipper

Sitting with Rita, on the beach
Sitting with Rita, on the beach

I love summer. It’s my favourite season. I’ve loved summer since I was a small child, although now I actually appreciate spring and fall, too. But I hate winter.

Winter means frozen fingers and toes, and mine seem to freeze before everyone else’s does. Perhaps it’s my low blood pressure. After about 10 minutes outside, my fingers start to freeze and my toes go numb. I’m sure that’s contributed to the arthritis I have in my toes now.
But summer… summer means I can wear sandals, and my fingers and toes stay warm. Summer is hot and humid. In summer, I can lay out in the sun and feel wonderfully relaxed as the sunlight caresses my skin.

About 15 years ago, I was driving along in my car listening to the radio, and the most amazing song came on. I was so happy that I was able to catch the song title and the group. It was Summer’s Cauldron, by XTC, which has now become one of my favourite bands. It perfectly captures, in lyrics and music, how it feels when I sit out in the sun.

Drowning here in summer’s cauldron
Under mats of flower lava
Please don’t pull me out this is how I would want to go
Breathing in the boiling butter
Fruit of sweating golden Inca
Please don’t heed my shout I’m relax in the undertow

I seem to have developed a ritual. Each spring, when it gets warm enough, I put Summer’s Cauldron on repeat and listen while laying out on a reclining chair on my back deck. My back deck is completely surrounded by a cedar hedge and decking fence. It seems to get 2-3 degrees warmer there than anywhere else, and the sun beats down all afternoon. It’s my favourite spot to be outside. For the first time this year, I was able to get out there this afternoon and listen to Summer’s Cauldron.

When Miss Moon lays down
And Sir Sun stands up
Me I’m found floating round and round
Like a bug in brandy
In this big bronze cup
Drowning here in summer’s cauldron

When I was a teenager in the 70s, my girlfriend Anny and I would lay out at her house or mine, desperately trying to get tans. Back then, it was cool to have a tan. I used to lie there for hours on end, with no protection. (Yikes!!) Nowadays, I don’t want to be tanned any more, but I still love sitting in the sun. I have to have a hat, or I get a headache, and if I’m out for more than a little while, I use sun block. But I love getting all toasty warm. Love the way my skin smells. Love to get all drowsy and comfortable. Absolutely love it if there’s a slight breeze.

Trees are dancing drunk with nectar
Grass is waving underwater
Please don’t pull me out this is how I would want to go
Insect bomber Buddhist droning
Copper chord of August’s organ
Please don’t heed my shout I’m relax in the undertow

My favourite song, though, is Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles. It’s been my favourite song since I was a little girl, probably because of the uncanny way it would play on the radio just when I needed it most. It would play at the beginning of spring when there was still snow on the ground, but the sun was streaming into my living room from a clear blue sky. It seemed to promise that summer was coming. It would play on the radio after I’d had a fight with my parents and I was miserable. It seemed promise that things would get better soon.

When Miss Moon lays down
in her hilltop bed
And Sir Sun stands up
raise his regal head
Me I’m found floating round and round
Like a bug in brandy
In this big bronze cup
Drowning here in summer’s cauldron

I know Canada probably isn’t the country I should be living in, but I think that experiencing some cold makes me appreciate summer even more. In actual fact, I really like breathing in very cold air (I’m talking -25 degrees Celsius or colder). But that’s the *only* thing I like about winter.

Just a little over one month to go, when I can get out to Allenwood beach on Georgian Bay. Hopefully, we’ll have more than a few sunny hot days. And if it gets too breezy and cold, I’ll go find that little sand dune a few of us sun worshippers know about where it’s about 5 degrees hotter, and try to get my fix.

Taking a break in the shade
Taking a break in the shade