I’m a light person. The more light, the better, as far as I’m concerned. Tim’s and my little house is painted oyster white throughout, with bright white woodwork. Makes it airy and spacious-feeling. My mom liked to paint her walls different colors, changing one room or another every other year or so. As adults, most of my sisters followed suit, doing their parts to keep Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore in business. I took the road less traveled. I like white. I like light.
Be all that as it may, this year the March moon falls the day before the equinox, moving the so-called Pascal Moon forward 28 days. Accordingly, Easter occurs about as late in the year as possible, on April 24.
|Here is a diagram of the |
celestial coordinate system.
Note the ecliptic circle,
which is at a 23-&-a-half-degree
angle to the galactic equator.
Or something like that.
Light affects all life on earth in various ways. We’re all subject to circadian rhythms, for instance. Webster defines circadian—from the Latin “circa” (around) and “diem” (day)—as “designating or of behavioral or physiological rhythms associated with the 24-hour cycles of the earth’s rotation, as, in man, the regular metabolic, glandular and sleep rhythms which may persist through dislocations of day and night…” I understand the concept viscerally, as I have just acclimated to the advent of Daylight Savings Time. Every year, I experience springing forward and falling back as jet-lag.
But there are other light effects, most clearly demonstrated by plants.
First there is phototropism, or the hormone-induced bending of plant structures toward a source of light, either natural or artificial. Sunflowers are the best-known example of flowers that orient themselves in relation to the sun, a related phenomenon called heliotropism.
|The tomato seedlings on my piano|
lean toward the light source.
This is called phototropism.
I belong to the generation of sun worshippers who saw nothing odd in slathering ourselves with iodine mixed in baby oil before taking off as much clothing as our mothers would allow and settling ourselves in the backyard or on the beach to broil. Why I don’t resemble a raisin today, 40 years on, is another of those quotidian miracles.
Tim’s dermatologist, a transplant from Rochester, New York, once remarked that he saw more cases of skin cancer in his first two years working in Brunswick County, North Carolina, than in the 25-plus years he practiced up north. This is an important observation, and one worth giving some thought to. “Full sun” on the southeastern coast is an entirely different animal from “full sun” in
or Connecticut , and the difference affects both plants and people. Pot geraniums (Pelargonium spp. cvv.), for instance, welcome summertime southern and western exposures up north; but down here, don’t even think about it past, say, mid-June. Your skin has a lot in common with geraniums that way, so take proper precautions when you go out at all times of the year, even if you’ve got “good” skin. Ohio
|Sunflowers provide the best-known|
example of heliotropism
Interestingly enough, Tim and I represent opposite ends of the skin continuum. He characterizes himself as “Irish iridescent blue.” He’s had several skin cancers removed—basal cell, squamous cell and one very scary pre-Stage I melanoma—since we moved to North Carolina in 1997. He now anoints all exposed skin daily with sunscreen containing titanium dioxide to thwart both UVA and UVB rays, never ventures out shirtless or barefoot, rarely wears shorts, and always keeps his head covered.
I, on the other hand, have marvelous skin. Naturally a kind of honey color, I tan readily and hardly ever burn. (I’m not bragging. The Good-Skin Fairy smiled upon me at birth, so it’s not a circumstance I had any control over. And, because there is balance in the cosmos, the Good-Fingernail Fairy loathed me at first sight.) Nonetheless, my Southern-Belle upbringing—most of which didn't take—makes me sensitive to the responsibility of maintaining my good fortune. My face has not left the house without sunscreen (or mascara) since the 1970s, not counting the two ill-thought-out two-a.m. trips to the hospital forced on me by childbirth. Since the ’90s, I’ve extended coverage to all exposed skin. Here are links to the skin-saving products depicted nearby: Rocky Mountain Sunscreen; Oil of Olay Complete Facial Moisturizer and Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion (both SPF 15); and Burt’s Bee’s Lip Protection. I also rarely wear shorts when we’re working, but that’s mostly because I like to give the deer ticks and chiggers as small a target as possible.
|Protect your skin, every day|