I woke up to something this morning that someone living in the south may take for granted – something, apart from a glorious trip to Paris recently, I haven’t seen in over four weeks – the sun. Four weeks may not seem like a long time. I once counted nearly eight straight weeks of absolutely no sunshine whatsoever here on the west coast of Sweden. In the doldrums of the long, dark, wet autumn months, I have always ached for sunshine. Is a clear blue sky too much to ask for, I often wonder? I don’t think anyone living in the south can know what it does to the mind, body and spirit looking up at grey skies and a landscape of drizzle every day, though my Swedish counterparts dare not complain “after the summer we just had”. On the other hand, “they” hadn’t just spent three years in the American south.
I remember friends in North Carolina asking me what I liked most about living in the US. I would always answer, “the weather”. Their bewildered look was often followed by the sentence, “Don’t you like living here?” I suppose they expected me to say, the people or the way of life, etc. But they couldn’t truly know how the sun and the constant blue skies fed me with such joy and inspiration.
So anyone reading this blog might wonder if the sun is worth its own dedicated blog post. Well, if you’re a writer, you will understand that inspiration can come from a myriad of sources. I look at the sun now, just over my shoulder, and it reminds me of my little guest room in North Carolina, painted sea foam green, or maybe a nice robin’s egg blue would be more accurate, and how the sun streamed in past my shoulder lighting up Gillian Pugsley on the screen in front of me. I never tired of the warmth the sun fed me in that little air-conditioned room. Air-conditioning and I are not a happy mix.
I sat at my little desk for hours and hours on end, without actually noticing time pass, and was often alarmed when I’d snap out of my “zone” suddenly realizing it might be time to fetch the kids from school. But Gillian Pugsley always came with me. There I sat in car pool, a truly American phenomenon by the way, with the sun to keep me company as I worked on my novel from behind the steering wheel.
Now that I am back in Sweden and struggling with the weather, I will take my bit of sun today and let it feed my imagination for my new project. I know it plays an enormous role in my energy and creativity, though I now see it being pulled into the clouds again, clouds that cover the sky in a light grey blanket. I better get outside before it disappears entirely.