Thursday, January 27, 2022

Meditation after another trip to the dermatologist

Angel Kisses

The sun’s first ray taps the crown of my head. I’m the tallest creature on the ocean, me, a young man bobbing just outside of the breaking waves. Light from 93 million miles away cascades over my torso, lights up the many colors of my surfboard, paints my body with freckles that will only become visible when winter comes. Soon all the surfers will be illuminated, their multi-colored boards, the stripes on their baggies. The sun will crawl over the beach and the early-bird walkers and houses perched on the dunes and the town and Florida entire. It will unleash the heat, fire up the humidity of a July morning.  Decades later, a Wyoming dermatologist talks about his family’s Colorado ski vacation as he scoops skin from this young surfer turned old man. Cancer may have been there all of this time, a remnant of the sun’s touch during hundreds of mornings in the semi-tropical sun. My crown, my nose, my ears have all been biopsied, scraped and sown. Nothing awful, nothing like melanoma that killed my brother. I wonder if the dermatologist slaps on sunscreen before he negotiates Steamboat runs named High Noon, One O’clock, Two O’clock for the prime meridian times that January sun reaches the west-facing mountains. If sunscreen had been a thing in 1967, I would have used it. Maybe. I know one thing – I would never trade one second of those mornings for blemish-free skin. Every scar a dance with sun and ocean, every freckle the kiss from the heavens. “Freckles are angel kisses,” my mom told me when I believed in angels. I now know the science behind melanin and derma, ephelides and solar lentigines. But during my seventieth year on the planet, angel kisses seem exactly right. Just perfect.


Ann McCutchan said...

Oh, Mike. This 1960s Florida girl just booked her annual dermatologist visit. My first one was about ten years ago. That doctor looked at me and asked where I grew up. "The Atlantic Coast of Florida," I said. "Wrong answer," he said. But, so far, so good. I was never a real sun worshiper, but I was IN the sun all the time, BS (Before Sunscreen). My sister, two years younger than I, has had a bit of precancerous stuff removed from the side of her face. A friend from that time and place recently had precancerous skin removed from her nose. I await my turn. For even though I use loads of sunscreen now, the past may reveal itself at any moment on my face -- as if I don't wear my past already! Great post, my friend.

Michael Shay said...

The Atlantic Coast of Florida. Great place to grow up but tough on Celtic skin. We were always outside and the beach was our playground.