Monday, 23 June 2014

Short Term Sunburn

I have a sunburn. Apparently the deck shade under which I was sitting yesterday does not quite filter out the UV rays of the powerful Mediterranean sun. Apparently my pale white skin simply cannot withstand the sun damage that is common to us northerners in these southern climes. Apparently I should have known better. Of course none of this was apparent to me when I fell asleep by the pool.

What is interesting is my reaction to this sunburn. I am suffering with the discomfort of it, complaining and whining as only I can do with this kind of thing. Yet here I am, complaining about a mere sunburn while saying little about the many pains and struggles of each day thanks to ALS. I whine about the stinging skin with which I now suffer but say little about the pain in my toes as they curl into my shoes. I make little yelps of pain when I lift my legs into bed yet I say nothing to the constant ache and soreness in my arms, shoulders and neck, a forewarning of what is to come into my life soon enough.

It is always the immediate that we as humans see first, always the problem right in front of us that gets our attention. It is the nature of the human experience to consider more about getting to the grocery store in our car than we do about the impact of our drive, and so many other drives, on our planet. We see the short haul, first and foremost. We are a species that deals with the near term, our longest view perhaps being a few months or less.

There are those amongst us who see long term, those who can look at a project or outcome some 100 years hence, or even perhaps 1,000 years hence, and take the first step on that path. There are those who can plan a cathedral or castle or monument that will take many lifetimes to build. This skill lies within all of us, there to be called upon as needed. Yet each and every one of us will complain about a sunburn, short term as it must be. We are just that way.

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