Observing June’s Light and Whole of Life

DSC01176

June Sunrise 2017 Lisa A. Wisniewski

June has brought times of both rain and sun to my area.  This week, the temperatures skyrocketed into the upper 80°F to 90°F range during the daytime hours.  With low temperatures of 65° F, the nights have been warmer than normal, yet comfortable with the breezes blowing.  The warmer temperatures made for some rather sweaty runs, bike rides, and dog walks, but the times of sun, blue skies, and feeling of summer soon to arrive (June 21 is not that far away) made up for all the sweat, at least in my mind.

Sweat Beads and Cooling Needs

As I pedaled my bike four miles after a three mile run the other night, I felt little rivers of sweat running down my back, arms, and legs.  The air hitting my skin as I rode along made me feel cooler.  The experience made me think back to health classes years ago when I learned that sweating is the body’s mechanism to cool itself.

 

DSC01189

Hazy, Hot, and Humid = Sweat Lisa A. Wisniewski

Sweat is created  by sweat glands, which are skin glands that occur only in mammals.  There are two types of sweat glands, the eccrine and apocrine.   The eccrine glands are controlled by the sympathetic nervous system and regulate body temperature.  As the internal body temperature rises, the eccrine glands release sweat, which is made up of mostly water and sodium.   There are thousands of eccrine glands within the human body to regulate temperature.  In mammals such as dogs, cats, cows, and sheep, the eccrine glands are located on paw pads or lip margins.  This is why these animals rely on panting instead of sweating for temperature control.

The apocrine sweat glands continuously secrete a fatty sweat into the gland tubule.  Stress, anxiety, fluctuating hormones, or rise in body temperature stimulate the glands to produce bacteria to help break down the sweat, resulting in body odor.  The apocrine sweat glands are located in the underarm and groin areas in humans.  Other mammals have many more apocrine glands, hence the smell often associated with cows, horses, and sheep in warmer weather.

In humans, each sweat gland by itself may not be very effective, but when you sum up all of the sweat glands, you have a very effective cooling system.  This system is of most value when exercising or engaging in physical activities often done in the light and warmth of the summer sun.

Lots and Lots of Light

In addition to the warmer temperatures, June has brought even more daylight to my area.  Sunrise is now at 5:50 AM, the earliest it can be, and sunset is currently at 8:52 PM, inching slowly toward 8:55 PM, the latest it can occur.  We are approaching the summer solstice, the time when the sun “stands still” before redirecting.  The standing still can be seen in the consecutive days of 5:50AM sunrises.  After 6 days, the time will inch back to 5:51 AM, then a minute later each day as we progress through the summer and into fall.

DSC01192

Light Before Night Lisa A. Wisniewski

The extra light has been great for my dogs and me.  We have been outside every evening until after 9:00 PM, edging, mulching, weeding, trimming, and trying to make the yard look nice.  (The dogs supervise while I labor, which works well for us.  Occasionally, they do try to help, but it usually ends up being more work for me, so I tell them to just watch instead).

All the work of maintaining the yard is therapeutic and rewarding for me.  It is amazing how many questions and problems I can solve in my mind while working and playing with the dogs.  Issues that trouble me seem less severe when I am out there digging, raking, and trimming.  Others may view this time as work, but I view it as play time, time to just be me, time to talk or listen to God, and time to be thankful to be able to do what I enjoy doing most in life.

All this time is made brighter by the light of the sun and the aura of promise and potential the spring and summer seasons hold. Perhaps the following quote states it best:

“We see the brightness of a new page where everything yet can happen.” –Rainer Maria Rilke

As I contemplate this aura and the light, I am reminded of Jesus’ discourses to the apostles, calling them the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Jesus often used simple, little things in life (light, salt, seeds, and water) to get his message across.  He also used many metaphors so the people could relate his words to their work and their lives.

Simple Solutions

The ability to relate is often made possible by the breaking down of a problem or event.  Dissecting the smaller pieces leads to the discovery of relationships, which in turn makes the process more relevant and effective.  Perhaps my yard work can be used as an example.  I have a big task in making the yard look nice.  However, if I break that task down into categories like edging, weeding, mulching, and trimming, I have smaller components that are more manageable both physically and mentally.

DSC01017

Back Yard Landscaping Lisa A. Wisniewski

The process of categorizing gives some semblance of order for me to follow, which makes the project more organized.  The organization leads to my communication with God and nature.  This communication in turn leads to cooperation (God and nature working with me, or at least keeping me company while I do the physical aspect of the work) to get the tasks done.  Completing each task offers motivation for the next task at hand.

This process reminds me of some of St. Paul’s writings, in which he speaks of building character, strength, and endurance (Romans 5:4).  It also reminds me St. Paul’s message to the Corinthians regarding faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13-13).  Each component plays a part in making a better whole, and in turn, a better world.

Intricate Beauty, Infinite Value

These writings illustrate the very intricate, delicate weave created in and by life.  Every component is connected in some way, allowing each piece to play a part in the greater whole.  The sum of all the components is made more valuable with the contribution of each component.

DSC01188

White Yarrow Lisa A. Wisniewski

While pedaling my bike the other night, I saw some white yarrow.  The very tiny petals are almost invisible by themselves, but when grouped together, they make a flower like fine lace.  Add to this the very delicate, fern-like, wispy leaves, and you have a masterpiece of nature’s finest art.  Each part of the yarrow is very small, but the sum of the parts makes for a tall, showy flower with a unique appearance.  If we viewed the parts individually, we may not see their value, but each one is necessary to make the plant complete and noticeable.

As I contemplate the parts of each whole in my life, I am reminded of one of my all-time favorite Patty Loveless songs called A Handful of Dust, which was written by a great songwriter named Tony Arata:

A Handful of Dust

Break us down to our elements, and you might think He failed
We’re not copper for one penny or even iron for one nail
And a dollar would be plenty to buy twenty of us
Until true love is added to these handfuls of dust

Handful of dust, handful of dust
Sums up the richest and poorest of us
True love makes priceless the worthless
Whenever it’s added to a handful of dust

However small our worth may be
When shared between two hearts
Is even more than it would ever be
When measured on its own accord
Aw, half what it could be is now twice what it was
When true love is added to these handfuls of dust

Handful of dust, handful of dust
Sums up the richest and poorest of us
True love makes priceless the worthless
Whenever it’s added to a handful of dust

Summing Up Sums

Perhaps it is all the little parts of the spring and summer seasons that make them so memorable, rewarding, and refreshing for me.  Every component from the smells of fresh cut grass and falling rain to the sights of the misty mornings filled with dew and the clear blue skies add an element of value to create a priceless effect upon the soul.  Each day filled with light offers endless potential to learn, grow, explore, and find what one is seeking.

DSC01182

Moving Along in the Morn Lisa A. Wisniewski

As I inch my way along through my yard work, I find myself contemplating events past and present, as well as dreaming of the future.  Where I have been and where I am now are steps within the journey leading to my destination.  Every step has value, though not every step may be seen as important at the time it is taken.  Some steps are taken with certainty, others with caution or even fear.  Every step challenges my faith along the way and builds character.  This character in turn builds strength, which allows for endurance, which in turn leads one through life.

May we recognize the intricate details and little things as we make our way upon the journey.  May each experience lead us to deeper meaning and understanding, and may sharing these experiences with others add value to the sum of the parts that make up the whole of life. 

DSC01185

Daisies in the Field Lisa A. Wisniewski

Within the Whole of Life

DSC01195

Round, Round Sun Lisa A. Wisniewski

Daisies in the field, blowing in the wind
After the hazy fog of the morn has lifted
And the round, round sun in the sky
Has found its way through the clouds of white
To guide the soul and lead the way
Through the folds of another day
Full of potential and opportunities bright
Within the whole of life.

DSC01190

Wispy Clouds After the Rain Lisa A. Wisniewski

DSC01199

Tiny Phlox in Jewel Weed Lisa A. Wisniewski

Wispy clouds and dreamy stars
Moving throughout nature’s finest art
Created from parts all sizes and shapes
Given a start by God’s love and grace,
Allowed to flourish and grow in time’s sea
Above, below, and everywhere in between
The rhythms that hold together day and night
Within the whole of life.

DSC01196

Old Walnut Tree in Morning Mist Lisa A. Wisniewski

DSC01203

Stepping Through Time Lisa A. Wisniewski

Old walnut tree standing tall in the morning mist
With leaves outstretched waiting to be kissed
By the sun’s rays
In a new day begun upon the way
Through the steps within the journey
Around time’s bends and lessons of learning
Leading the soul to the light
Within the whole of life.

-Lisa A. Wisniewski

Resources and Related Links

Patty Loveless- https://www.biography.com/people/patty-loveless-17189482

Rainer Maria Rilke – https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rainer-Maria-Rilke

Science of sweat – https://certification.acsm.org/blog/2013/may/the-science-of-sweat

Sweat glands – https://www.britannica.com/science/sweat-gland

Tony Arata – http://nashvillesongwritersfoundation.com.s164288.gridserver.com/Site/inductee?entry_id=256

DSC01202

Sunrise June 15, 2017 Lisa A. Wisniewski

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s