The sunlight is stronger here, high up in the mountains of Mexico, in what is known as the Central Highlands. It makes me squint, makes it impossible to read outside, even in the shade, although I have tried countless times. Maybe it is the lack of pollution, or the thinness of the atmosphere. It can burn my skin in less than 15 minutes, and it has given me a permanent red nose because of my lack of consistency with the sun screen.
It is strong enough that you can grow most plants under shade if there is sunlight just beyond the shade. And if you use an opaque plexiglass kind of roof over your patio, everything will grow and bloom and not burn to a crisp.
My cactus plants are thriving. I can’t keep them in large enough pots before they need transplanting again to something bigger. They bloom. They spread out. They, of course, are meant for this high desert atmosphere. Even in our chilly winters, they grow. And bloom.
James Thurber once said, “There are two kinds of light – the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.” We have here the glare, the glare that obscures by its very brightness, but it is also a glare that welcomes bright colors.
Mexico is a land of bright colors. The bright light here saturates them and makes even the most garish of them look just right. Reds, oranges, yellows, rusts, turquoises, pinks, blues, whites, all show their cheery best in this bright glare, under the clear blue sky.
When it is cloudy here, the bright houses look drab in spite of their charming painted exteriors. We need the sun to bring out the finest palette.
“The light is all.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said that. He was right.
I leave you with this thought:
Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime, that’s been our unifying cry, “More light.” Sunlight. Torchlight. Candlelight. Neon, incandescent lights that banish the darkness from our caves to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. Big floods for the night games at Soldier’s Field. Little tiny flashlights for those books we read under the covers when we’re supposed to be asleep.
Light is more than watts and footcandles. Light is metaphor. Light is knowledge, light is life, light is light.
~ Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider
Even a small star shines in the darkness.