What does warmth mean to you? Of course there is the literal warmth of the sun, like that these two llamas are soaking up in the photo above. Sun warmth is a fine art – to want to sit in direct sunlight, it has to be just nicely warming, not sizzling and not impeded by freezing air that makes sitting outside unpleasant. If only the sun had a temperature knob so you could find just the right setting. At just the right temperature, you start to experience a type of bliss, before you get sleepy or sunburnt. Whether it’s lizards, llamas or British sun bathers, everyone craves that sun soaked warm euphoria.
When I think of warmth, I do think of being warmed by the sun, outdoors. In winter you can chase the sun around like a sleepy cat, looking for just the right spot as the sun moves off your favourite chair. Sometimes when I’ve been on a lunch break from work in the city, I’ve gravitated to the sunny corners of the street each time I have to stand waiting for a light to change. Something about trying to soak up that little bit of sunlight.
Warm is also something Hallmark greeting cards would like to tap into, and it’s something you hope for in your relationships with family and friends, but may not always find. I find it comes most unexpectedly in contexts of professional life or in interactions with people in the goods and services industry where someone is warmer in their manner than might be expected or required. It makes all the difference. People in admin and retail jobs can often be rushed, presumptuous and sometimes even surly and having worked in both customer service and admin, I understand how people can wear you down over time. But when you find true genuine warmth in someone’s manner, where they go out of their way to help you or understand you, where they turn their whole attention to you and smile and something in the tone of their voice and their eyes tell you the warmth is genuine, not feigned, then you are truly warmed. And something about warmth is infectious.