In praise of Autumn Sun
For the past six months, the window just opposite my desk has been my favourite place. I sit at my desk to write, more specifically, to contemplate. It is the clear sky, the infrequent summer rain, and the soothing breeze that comes through my window have given me the resolution to write-to contemplate. I was reading the poem Day in Autumn by Rainer Maria Rilke the other day and these lines generated a deep-longing ache within my heart for the love and sense of autumn sunshine.
After the summer's yield, Lord, it is time
to let your shadow lengthen on the sundials
and in the pastures let the rough winds fly.
Our struggle with the pandemic and our ordeal of confinement began in spring. The days are now longer and brighter, and the sun is nevertheless emanating its radiance. However, still millions of people are spending their quarantine without having any direct contact with something that is essential for human beings-the sunlight. We are homeothermic meaning we need the sunlight to regulate our body temperature. Moreover, we depend on it to regulate our sleep cycle and for our bodies to perform several metabolic tasks. Feeling the warmth of sunshine equally has an indispensable effect on our mental wellbeing. Having little or no contact with sunlight can take its toll on us. The most common effects can include discouragement, sleep disturbance or deprivation, and lack of vitamin D.
A very well-known psychiatrist and an expert in chronotherapy have commented that the absence of sunlight can make people suffer from mood and sleep disturbance and also changes in weight. Many of us are not much aware of the relevance of this factor in our lives as we are accustomed to carrying out our most activities indoors-more specifically under artificial light. Even in our home, we are constantly in contact with various electronic devices such as computers, mobile phones, televisions, etc. and the blue-light radiating from these devices can alter our circadian rhythms aka our sleep-wake cycle which can reduce the production of melatonin. Moreover, a study conducted by the University of California states that almost 50% of the world's population is probably deficient in vitamin D.
Therefore, the lack of contact with sunlight during the confinement can aggravate this fact. We all should try our best to get at least twenty minutes of exposure to sunlight a day. And if anyone is not allowed to go outside, they should take advantage of the terrace, window, or some part of the house where natural light enters. Again, it is very crucial to get up and go to bed at the same time. Another important goal is to make the brain distinguish between day and night; looking for natural light and taking advantage of it for twenty to thirty minutes can greatly benefit us. We should bear in mind that there are other sources for vitamin D such as dairy products, oily fish as well as eggs. In addition to this, we can involve ourselves in doing creative tasks and finding time to connect with the here and now.
The touch of autumn chill is like a blessing; a promise fulfilled. Autumn-glory of the season, the year's high achievement has arrived to give us hope. Hence, let us look at the horizon and set new goals. Let us ensure that our dreams and hopes never fade away.
The writer is a student, Department of English, Daffodil International University