I was recently in the northern part of the country which was reeling under a cold front. I had to wear a number of clothing and shoes to keep warm, both outdoors and indoors. Even then I wasn’t truly fully free of chillness until I got under the blankets with the heater on beside me. The sun’s warmth was available only for a few hours, from around 11 am to 4 pm, before the temperature dropped again.
Being from the sunny south, I would anxiously wait each day for the sun to appear so as stand under its heat. Even a very hot shower would raise the body temperature for only for a little while. Back home in the sunnier part of the country, I revelled in the warmth and the freedom from extra woollies. I am never going to worship the sun, but neither would I take it for granted anymore!
The anomaly of the region I visited is the extreme heat of the summer months contrasting the cold of its winter season. As I thought about this peculiarity, I realized that this contrast is surely the key to life being livable in that area. It is the extreme frigidity of the winter season that prepares the body for facing the extreme heat of the summer season and vice versa. The heat of the summer months warms the body to an extent that it is able to bear the chillness of the winter cold. How appropriate and fitting, I thought!
Following this train of thought, I realized that food, clothing, shelter and social as well as cultural cuatoms of a place are in most part in step with the climatic conditions of the area. For example, in the northern parts of India where chillness can be expected, the staple diet is wheat and bland subzies; whereas in the hotter southern parts, rice and spicy curries predominate. Wheat imparts heat to the body and rice provides coolness, making these the inescapable ingredient of the cuisines of the respective regions. Similarly, the blood in the body runs faster in cold regions and so a bland diet suffices. In hotter regions, spiciness in the diet will enhance the blood flow that tends to be slow due to the heat and thus will prevent the resultant lethargy from dominating.
Colder regions tend towards close fitting pant-type dress patterns as it affords protection from the chill winds that can run up the leg; whereas, in the hotter regions, loose flowing robes or sarongs or sarees provide the aeration that would give relief and prevent sweating in the intense heat. If you look closely, you can establish such connections even to the color and material existing in each area. Not just these alone, but also the flora and fauna available in each place are obviously in-sync with the weather conditions common to the sector.
Even the social life and cultural activities are commensurate with the weather prevalent in each area. The north includes more song and dance as integral part of its festivities – surely since the exercise will warm the body. The south, on the other hand, is more conservative and less expressive in action but more in emotive expressions as the heat surely discourages very rigorous exercise! This also may be the reason that the north is more militant than the south, since activity enhances their well-being and negotiations suit the health of the warm south!
What perfect order has been planned and executed by the Creator in each place to make life livable, enjoyable and sustainable in each place, area and region! Every time I note the intricacies of His design, I marvel at His wisdom that is exhibited even in the tiniest of details! God is not the God of chaos but of perfect order and arrangement. Nothing He does is out of focus, out of step or out of confusion. Even in the randomness of things, there is a pattern that enhances rather than detracts the beauty of it all! Perfect symphony is the hallmark of God’s handiwork, His id card actually! Even in chaos there is meaning as evidenced in His scattering that happened in the tower of Babel!
No wonder the Psalmist declares that The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. No wonder Paul the Apostle could echo that For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Living in harmony with our surroundings will ensure our wellness and well-being in every way, for there is a divine design incorporated into its makeup. Blaming circumstances or surroundings for any ill-health, physical or otherwise, will be a farce if in some way we are introducing disorder into our life and lifestyle. A check to see if we are violating the order set around us will enable us to ‘prosper and be in good health even as (y)our soul prospers‘!