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Earthbound

Winter Faces

(This year, one of the most prestigious science journals Nature has published a series of opinion and feature articles under the title ‘Road to Copenhagen’, rising issues that concern climate change. Many world leaders are meeting in Denmark (winter) to talk about ‘global warming’.  Here is a figurative outlook on what we expect from Copenhagen.)

Soils in the tropics and the subtropics crack in hot summers especially when the clouds fail to bring rain with them.  However, shiny and glowing skins of young women, irrespective where they are on the planet, do not crack in summers.  Sun rays reach their favourite target to make them dry and crack in cold winters.  Although, many women own a river, a renewable source of water in their eyes, in winters even opening its floodgates cannot heal the cracked skin in the face.  Forget female tenderness and look at the scrubby grasslands on a male face.  In winters, even they are not exempted.  When they try to run a blade over the cracked grassland, they have to hear the cracks ‘singing’.

The process of facial skin cracking has distinct steps.  At first, it burns ever so slightly, then it reddens and then white scales start to come off (peak of cracking).  The human skin can crack at many other places on the body more frequently than the face. Heels can crack causing severe pain in some people.  One can cover the heels in warm woollen socks and wear shoes.  One can use hand gloves to prevent skin cracking on and around the hands.  Most of the time, most of the body is covered.  However, for obvious reasons, it is very inconvenient and difficult to cover one’s own face through out the winter.

In places at high latitudes, roads get blocked because of heavy snow in winter.  At lower latitudes, deciduous trees become dry and bald.  In addition, no matter how many litres of water one drinks, no matter what grease one applies the human skin on its face also cracks.  For roads to reopen, for trees to re-grow, and for the cracked faces to heal, summer has to return.

Classifying human skin type based on its colour is very easy…but it is not only inhuman but also unscientific.  A better way to do so is based on its extent of oiliness.  It also helps our discussion.  Oily skins do not crack as much as dry skins.  There is a lot of difference between oiliness and moisture content.  If people with oily skin are found in either sandy planes of deserts or deeply frozen tundra, then it is of no great help.  They are used to a season-less environment.  Oiliness helps in places that show strong seasonality in their climate.

If the skin is dry, and it is in a place where winter is sunny and cold and summer is hot and wet, facial skin cracking is almost inevitable.  However, irrespective of skin type, all skins have to (if they need to) crack only in winters.  Fortunately, summers do return every year and skins heal on their own.

A therapeutic solution to the problem of skin cracking is to ban the source.  It does make sense to use skin creams to ban carcinogenic UV rays from the Sun.  However, the visible-essential spectrum is enough to cause skin cracking.  It does not make sense if we decide to blame the sun and confine ourselves to ‘dark’ hours.

Faces do crack in cold winters, but it does not mean there should be cold wars.  It is hard to hide faces, cracked or otherwise.  One need not wait for a summer for ‘facial’ cracks to heal.  It should not become a never-ending make-break-remake ‘cyclic’ phenomenon, which will wait for next summer every new winter. After all, all of us have a brain that is cracked right down its middle.  Many of us may have cracked faces some time during a year…all of these doesn’t mean that there should be a cracked mind within, does it?

About CanTHeeRava

I am CanTHeeRava (ಶ್ರೀಕಣ್ಠ ದಾನಪ್ಪಯ್ಯ) from Bangalore (ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು), INDIA. Areas of my training and interests include Sciences, Indian Classical (Carnatic) Music, Languages, Poetry (Kannada and English), Test Cricket, and Educational & Political Reform

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Winter Faces

  1. Liked the parallel between cracks in the face and cracked mind. I would rather have a cracked face than a cracked mind.

    Posted by Soumya | December 25, 2009, 23:46
  2. People who do not take preventive steps to avoid cracking their skins in winter are the kind who have never faced harsh winters! They have always been protected in their luxurious homes and spa-treatments to make sure their skins never crack! Then, it is very difficult to expect them to come to some concrete decisions (which make sense to the other not-so-fortunate people!) Cracked minds are so very common these days that it is extremely difficult to come across a “whole” mind in one person! I believe only by coming together can people eliminate their own limits (cracks) and think with a “whole” mind! I do hope one good summer will come soon and it will not go away!

    Posted by padmalekha | January 2, 2010, 06:12

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