Minnesota winters can lull a person into forgetfulness of one's true pasty whiteness; that is, until one is effectively scorched back into reality by the sun's sudden re-entry into one's previously overcast, scarf-encased life... it's painful... but I know deep down it's a good thing.
For those who are fortunate enough NOT to have skin that is more akin to tinder than the protective layer of flesh it is meant to be, the bittersweet reunion between person and sunshine might not carry quite the same weight. However, I know there are others out there, like me, whose unabated excitement and eagerness to soak in those warm rays get them into stinging, blistering, peeling, all-in-all uncomfortable trouble time and time again. I can see the roasty-toasty redness of my fellow beach-goers unwittingly committing themselves to a week bathed in aloe and awkward stares which, more often than not, resolve themselves into sympathetic and, let's face it, quietly disapproving head shakes. One will be gently scolded and repeatedly asked if he or she has learned the important lesson of using sunblock. It is important at this point that the sunburn victim not attempt to explain that the beach-going festivities that ended so painfully had only been a 45 minute excursion during which a typical human being could survive quite well without the assistance of Octylmethoxycinnamate or Oxybenzone. It is not worth it, the damage has been done... one must simply nod his or her head in agreement, thereby acknowledging his or her stupiditiy and inferiority to those more capable sun-absorbers.
In the end, we can all fall victim to the sun's harmful rays. That shining source of livelihood and joy can quickly become the cause of pain and regret. I will be the first to admit that it is often a good choice to slather oneself in a defensive shield of Coppertone before trekking bravely into the summer affray. However, we all must keep in mind... especially if we have just emerged from a 6 month Minnesota winter.. that we are fragile creatures, some more so than others. Consider the sun to be that friend in your life who, after not seeing for a while, you need to adjust to being around again by hanging out in small, slowly increasing, doses. It's not that we don't love this friend or didn't miss the presence of the friendship; we simply need time to readjust to the slightly abraisive nature of its ever-encompassing love.
That said, I welcome the sun back into my life with open arms. I embrace my SPF 30 and prance happily to the beach knowing my pastiness, knowing my vulnerability and knowing... I already learned my annual sunburn lesson during my vacation to the East Coast, so I'm good until next year!