Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Sun. Life-giver and Flaming Ball of Death

Yesterday I received word that a family member still has melanoma. After treatment almost killed her, she is right back at the beginning. I could spend an eternity cursing the Creator and the conditions that brought this about, but there is no solace in that. What comfort does raging bring?

Instead I turn my attention to ways I can limit my family's exposure.

On our little homestead we try to be outside as much as possible. There are days we don't come in until well after the sun has set. Field work is a big concern because there are some crops that shouldn't be harvested in the cool dewy morning because it increases the likelihood of spreading diseases through the field. Also, some days are just hard work and it takes the whole day just to cross everything off the list. After the cold gray winter we had I am ready to be out in the air doing just about anything. Fire up the grill for lunch and dinner! I don't want to be inside!

Sports are a big part of our lives too. There are days that we arrive at the baseball field at eight in the morning and don't arrive home until dark. Unfortunately, our park does not have many mature trees. We also love to bike and swim. There is a pool in our neighborhood and the children and I are looking forward to light chore days that allow us hours of time with our friends there.

We spend our days in the sun.

The children have bathing suits designed to limit their exposure to the sun. I just wear a tee shirt. I don't spend much time swimming. I never learned. I find a small scrap of shade and catch up on reading or knit while we are at the pool. When we are out doing field work, long sleeve button ups that I found at Goodwill are my uniform. They are big and comfy and the wind flows through enough to keep me cool. As long as I have plenty of water working in sleeves is fine. I wear long pants too. I have these wonderful hand me down Army surplus cargo pants. The rip-stop material they are made of is super lightweight and comfortable.  I also have a dorky visor. I must be a sight when I head out, but I lost all concern about that years ago.

I like clothes over sunscreens because some sunscreens are downright toxic. Why would I slather my skin with layers of carcinogens to keep myself from getting skin cancer? There are good sunscreens out there. I even wear it and make my family wear it. Read the ingredients, do some research and figure out what's best.

Don't get me wrong I love the sun. It is a life sustaining gift. The sun gives us power and food and light. We joke about our family being solar powered because gray days make us grumpy and tired.

 I don't wrap myself from head to toe every time I walk out the door.  When I am going to be out for prolonged periods and/or I know the sun is at its strongest I take precautions. I have been burned several times. These burns happened when I was being careless. The sun is a powerful thing.

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