Back to blog
Squinting into the sun
Share your work with family and friends!

I love the sun, no, I worshipped the sun. I moved to New Mexico in my early twenties. I have read that the sun is present 364 days a year, even when it rains, the sun will still come out. I did not wear sunscreen or sunglasses or wear a hat. I went naked as often as possible. I soaked up the sun whenever I could. In the winter, with 2 feet of snow on the ground, I could find a hillside that faced the south and was bare, warm dirt. I could strip out of my boots and winter coat and lay on all my clothes – buck naked, soaking up the sun. Then put it all back on and go into the snow again. I truly love the sun. Unfortunately, the sun is not that great for eyes or for skin. I started to grow a pterigium across each cornea. The wind was part of the damage as well, but mostly the sun. My skin is wrinkled more than those without sun exposure and I have just found Squamous Cell cancer on my knee. It is an odd place. I want to find another reason for it. I want to rationalize away from the sun exposure cause. It is my knee and not my nose, which has always had the most exposure. In the past 20 years, I wear a lot of capris that cover my knee. But there is no skin cancer in my family and no other reason for it. So, I have to start wearing sunscreen. I abhore it. I like to swim in the lakes and now I paddleboard, which is a good amount of sun exposure. I still worship the sun, but I often wear a hat and I bought a spray sunscreen that is easy to apply quickly. I put it in my car and my van. That makes it more likely I will use it. I may be a lazy person who needs things close by and easy or it may be my rebellion of sun being anything other than the love of my life. Either way, it has to be right there for me to use it. So, now I am. I feel a bit betrayed, really. I gave a lot to my sun worshipping. I empathize with the cats of the world who find the spot in the sun to curl up and nap. I also find the sunny spot whenever possible. I don’t mind squinting, but now I wear sunglasses. I did get the kind that are prescription and turn dark when outside. Again, am I lazy or just hate to admit that the sun is damaging? Well, I am also prone to losing things, so I guess that plays a part in having one pair of glasses do it all. My pterigium has not grown. No vision loss as a result of that. A funny thing did happen. I have always had deep brown eyes. My schoolmates would tease me and call me “poop eyes” and such. After a year or two in the New Mexico sun, my eyes turned from brown to hazel and have stayed that way now for another 45 years. I don’t know why, since this is not usual. I have to wonder if the sun has changed me in more ways than I know. We have an affinity with each other. I wonder if I have also had an impact on the sun. Likely not.

Leave your comment...