By Ellen Lenox Smith

It sure would be easier to be home isolating with the consistent sun shining down. Instead, here we go again with another day of mist, rain, or clouds.  Here on the East Coast, the weather we have had to cope with has included only a few sunny days since the pandemic. When the sun hits, the world seems safe, beautiful, and full of hope.

When the weather switches back, hope is harder to hold onto, and the emotions seem to dip.

When we wake up to the sun, the world is shining and bright and so are my emotions. I am filled with hope, fresh ideas, and thoughts of the future. We get to go outside and when able to, we walk, work in the garden, and even just lay down with the sun on our faces. It seems to represent happiness, and it is such a joy to appreciate this.

Lately, when those lousy days hit, I feel like a totally different person.

I have always worked hard to try to be an upbeat, hopeful person despite living with two incurable conditions, 25 surgeries, and life always on the edge. But somehow the lousy weather makes it harder and harder to accomplish this positive attitude on these rough days.

I never noticed this transition as much as I am observing during the pandemic. Clouds, mist, and rain mean being inside with limited activities and more isolation than ever. Years ago, walking in the rain and snow used to be a quiet, spiritual treat. It was me and nature together, while many would not consider venturing out.  But now, walking needs to be on nice weather, due to limited shoes to use and safety issues after all the reconstruction surgeries.

So, inside I must stay and energy is expended searching for some new idea on how to use my isolated time inside.

Dear sun: please decide to grace us with your presence!

Ellen Lenox Smith has emerged as a leading voice for patients living with pain. Featured in local and national press accounts, Ellen brings a reasoned and compassionate perspective to the need for safe patient access to effective therapies, especially medical cannabis. Currently, Ellen serves as Co-Director of Medical Cannabis Advocacy for U.S. Pain Foundation and is a member of its Board of Directors. She also serves on the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition as secretary, was appointed by the governor to the Adaptive Telephone Equipment Loan Program, and is part of the Oversight Committee for the Compassion Centers in RI. She is also active with the EDS RI support group. Prior to patient advocacy, Ellen was a longtime middle school social studies teacher. She has been married for 46 years and is the proud mother of four adult children and grandmother to five grandchildren. She also is the author of two books, an organic gardener, and was previously a master swimmer and high school swim teacher.