Life with systemic lupus has taught me that the pleasure of enjoying the sun’s warming rays is vastly overrated. For many lupus patients who love the “great outdoors,” the size and scope of our fresh air experiences may need to be much smaller than we would like. For me, sun exposure is a strictly forbidden pleasure, so satisfying my desire for “wilderness experiences” is often limited to the span of my large covered patio, front porch and moonlit back yard. After nightfall, the world of the “small outdoors” opens up with great and promising possibilities.
Why all this ultraviolet dodging and apprehension? Why not simply step out into the sunlight of day and enjoy? Many of us with lupus have sun sensitivity. When the spectrum of light contained in the sun’s warming rays strikes our skin, and penetrates into the tissues beneath, it causes more than warmth and comfort. UV light has the ability to activate the lupus antibodies that it touches as it passes through our translucent layers of skin. So, I carefully dodge its downward daily flood of damaging rays and look for other ways to fulfill my longing for fresh air, sans the sunshine.
So, here I stroll awhile in my back yard enjoying a quiet night’s walk with my dog through the damp lawn beneath our feet. Delighting in the fragrance of the newly mown grass in the yard, tonight is pleasant and refreshing as I drink in the cool night air of this late spring evening.
The dog romps around my feet begging me to join him in the simple amusement of a game of fetch. The pale glow of solar lamps lining the lawn provides faint light for his frolicking, as his impish exuberance entertains me.
My favorite spot here is my porch swing, as I gently rock in time with cricket song and a nearby mockingbird with an identity crisis. In this calm night, I can hear a faint rustling of a slow breeze blowing through the dark shadows of nearby trees, as the swaying moonlit silhouettes frame my yard and the “small outdoors” around me. Here, I find peace and relaxation in the “nature experience” of my nighttime lupus adventure.