Spring has come to Yichang! We were blessed with two beautiful sunny weekends in a row, during which I was able to fit in three great hiking excursions to a few cool new places around Yichang (including Wenfo Shan- a sacred Buddhist mountain with a temple on top) and a trip out to the countryside with a few of my third grade students, Kay Kay, and Salina to see the beautiful Oriental Cherry trees in bloom. My classes the last two weeks have consisted of various excuses to take the kids outside for some time running in the sun, and mandatory classroom dance parties. To top it all off, my mom sent me the most amazing care package full of all sorts of vegetarian-surviving-in-China-goodies and I’ve been eating like a granola chick queen. So things have been pretty dang good! 

The spring has always been my favorite season. In part definitely because of my birthday, but there is also something about things warming up, coming alive again, that awakens me. Winter was difficult here between the inescapable cold outside and inside and barely ever seeing the sun through the smog and fog. For a girl raised on 365 days of Colorado sunshine, it just wasn’t easy. But at last, the sun has returned! 

Sun worship makes a lot of sense to me. Of course there is the joy when it rises each morning, and the woeful longing of “please don’t go!” when each evening I watch it disappear behind the hills, leaving traces of light strewn across the Yangtze river. Then there’s the vitamin D factor and whatever happy chemicals are released in your brain as that sunshine soaks into your skin. But there is also something else about it, something about being in sunshine evokes a sort of liminal space for me. The penetration of the sun’s beams melts illusive boundaries of my skin and I catch a glimpse of that ultimate unity with the universe. Suddenly it is all too clear that I can just be. And better yet, I can just be happy, I don’t have to wait for anything to make me feel happiness, because it is just a choice I am making. “If you want to be happy,….” becomes “If you want to, be happy.” 

As always, John Denver says it best. Sunshine almost always makes me high!

And here’s a song called Happy that I played during first and second grade dance parties last week! Great video too!

Check out participant Lindsey Pointer’s post about the happiness of Spring in Yichang, China!