Thursday, June 15, 2006

(Psychiatry 101)

What a beautiful day. What a great day for paddling. What a nice day to be outside. Too bad we can't paddle today, it's beautiful out there.

I hear this drivel all the time, and it makes me think, "That's what you think." Where is it written that sun and fluffy clouds and warm air = a nice day? No where, that's where. And, if you are like me, all that stuff is actually the antithises of a "nice" day.

There is a psychiatric condition called SADS or Seasonal Affective Depressive Syndrome. In brief, folks with this problem get sad or depressed during the winter when the days are brief and sunlight is hard to find. The idea is that this causes a drop in the "good feeling" hormones in the brain. Fact is, because of brief sun exposure and our skin being covered with coats, we produce less vitamin D...and that is also associated with depression. But to hell with all that, because there are also a group of us who don't quite fit the mold. We groove on cloudy weather.

I don't like the glare of bright light. I don't like to squint, it's too much work. And, I don't like the feeling of being in a furnace with the back of my neck on fire. Now, truth be told, we photographers (at least we black and white fine art photographers) hate sunny days. The brightness range of the light (range of difference between the whites and blacks) is too wide for the film to capture. Nice cloudy days, on the other hand, compress the brightness, eliminate squinting and leave one's neck feeling refreshed. Besides, I can always put on another layer when it's cool, but there is just so much the law allows me to remove when it is hot outside.

Still, I fight an uphill battle here. All you left brain, just-like-everyone-else folks like those pretty, brightly lit sunny days. It's so beautiful, I can hear you saying it now. And I say, looks are decieving. For example, would you like to paddle in the pretty "lake" shown below? Isn't the sunset beautiful? And inviting?

Fine, go for it. BUT KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT THE DEAD SEA WITH A SALINITY THAT WILL DISOLVE YOUR SHORTS. And, by the way, the folks over there in Jordan on the other side just might not have open camp spots. Trust me. Stick with the cloudy days.

Paddle safe


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