Sunshine Makes Me Happy
On the road…again!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Sunshine Makes Me Happy
The Zugspitze, the tallest mountain in the Bavarian Alps was exciting to see and exciting to climb. Warm sunny weather helped a lot and remains as one of the fondest of memories about being on that mountain in 1962. It would not have mattered whether or not the Footloose Forester made it to the top, the strong memory of a beautiful day of sunshine will always be there, just as one other memory of a purely wonderful day of wall-to-wall sunshine in the north of Germany is a cherished gift. That one is in his mental register as “der tag zum Barquelle Quelle”, or the day at Barquelle well, in the middle of a forest on a wonderful hiking trail.
Sunshine is an ingredient that makes everything more pleasant. The thoughts of sunshine are part of many of his stories, even if he did not always make it a specific issue. As originally drafted in a chronicle about Germany, the memory of sunshine was predominate as a mood setter.
In another chronicle, one about Italy, the following words were part of the story, itself….”As always, the memory of sunshine not only makes the moments sharper, the sunshine makes the memories possible.” Those words were taken directly from page 128 of his 2010 Chronicles of a Footloose Forester. There was plenty of sunshine in Italy and plenty of warm memories.
In yet another story about being outdoors in bright sunlight, the Footloose Forester expressed delight about his pleasurable basking in the sun of a warm March day in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. At that time and place in the high sierras, there was ten feet of snow still on the ground, but it did not diminish his pleasure, despite the circumstances. The entire scene was painted in golden sunshine. It is impossible to erase the memory, just as one cannot erase a picture in a book of art. In a 2011 chronicle entry “The Grey Wall, Desolation Valley Wilderness Area,” the allusion to sunshine was recorded thus…. The memory was as sunny as the time he hiked from the snow line on the Wrights Lake Road to the upper reaches of the tree line, just below the Grey Wall. It was March and the air temperature was a balmy 70 degrees or so. As he climbed further upward toward the crest of the pass overlooking Desolation Valley, he knew that he would have to cross a raging Silver Creek, the only difficult obstacle on his trek in deep snow. He also knew if he got too wet while fording Silver Creek, drying off—even in the blessed sunshine—was not a sure thing before the sun went down.
The view of Pyramid Peak from Silver Creek, as he was drying off in the sunshine
Whereas word construction, spelling, syntax and story content are ingredients found within stories, themselves; the God-given sunshine is a precursor in setting the mood for story-telling. The presence of sunshine is also like a glaze that preserves the many images of outdoor scenes, past and present. Not only does it brighten the memories, but sunshine invariably brightens the spirit of the Footloose Forester. As remembered in the words of a John Denver song, “sunshine…on my shoulder makes me happy…sunshine in my eye can make me cry…sunshine on the water is so lovely…sunshine almost always makes me high.”