Thursday, November 22, 2007


It is logical, if you think about it. The people who live in some of the coldest parts of the world tend to be blonde and have blue eyes. Those who live in the hottest areas usually have black hair and are many shades of brown.

Scientists decided that the percentage of melanin in our skin helps to protect us against heat or cold. There's no question of whether or not one is better or worse for having a high or a low proportion: it is merely a difference that has developed over the centuries so that we can live more comfortably in our natural environment.

When I was teaching in Australia, I decided to test this theory and asked my class to, first of all, put a hand in hot water and to time for how long they could keep it there. I also asked the youngsters to take an ice cube, hold it as tightly as possible for as long as possible and, once more, to time themselves.

The result was fascinating. Making allowances for those who were in the middle group in which many of the peoples of Central Europe origin would find themselves, the blonde students were able to hold an ice cube for much longer than those with dark hair and vice versa with the hot water. Now the results were in no way statistically significant, but it was intriguing.

Another interesting phenomenon concerning weather arose in a report on television. Apparently a town in Finland, I think it was, has the highest rainfall in Europe and so children are trained from their earliest days, to cope with rain. I could identify with that because, coming from England, I find that I am a better weather forecaster than many Italians living in Rome, where life is not nearly as soggy and there is nothing like the pressure to live a normal life in spite of constantly varying weather patterns. In fact there is a saying that "Other countries have climate. In England we have weather and it is so varied that it forms an unending topic of conversation."


...but aren't we not amazingly fortunate that our bodies are programmed to cope with differences in our surroundings?

Isn't the world incredible, that we do not have an unchanging environment and have the opportunity to glory in the pink dawn of a beautiful day just as much as the angry red clouds of an impending storm? Are there not some days when a breeze is a blessing and others when a wind that whips up the leaves into a frenzy of autumn loveliness?

Thank God for differences. They are what make this world our home!

God bless,
Sr. Janet