I did not take one picture today. It was raining when I got up and had been raining most of the night. It rained until late this afternoon. It was a good steady rain, giving the dirt the time to really soak it in.
And frankly, it was sort of depressing.
I'm feeling a bit low today, a bit emotional. It seems to me that so many of us tend to only want to show our sunny sides when the reality of life is that it is no more sunny all the time in our hearts and minds than it is in our weather although of course there are places where it rarely rains and there are places where it hardly ever stops.
Metaphors can only take you so far.
But my point is, none of us feels all giddy with happiness every day. One day you may be on your knees in the dirt pulling up a tiny oak sapling and have an almost spiritual experience and the next day you may wonder why on earth you're still here. A day where every thought leads to a dismal place. Where every action seems pointless or fraught with negativity. And I'm not talking about clinical depression here or bipolar disorder either. I'm just talking about the way life can be, day to day for almost everyone.
Some people do seem to be preternaturally cheerful all of the time. Frankly, they drive me crazy. I mean, I recognize that some people absolutely do have a more optimistic outlook on life than I do and I am happy for them and wish I was more like them. But the ones who never seem to waver in their belief that life is genuinely and continuously as happy as a theme park are just...well.
Or brainwashed by some cult or religion.
I watched a video about toxic positivity the other day. It mentioned people who love to announce that they write in their gratitude journals every day. Oprah popularized this whole gratitude journaling thing, I believe. She also got half the world believing in "The Secret" which is basically, as I understand it, putting your desires out into the universe and believing they will be granted.
So many of us want to believe that if we can just change our way of thinking we will become the shiny happy people we want to be.
Most of you who have been visiting here for awhile know that I don't believe in anything woo-woo. And for me, "woo-woo" can range from the belief that when you take communion the wine and bread turn into Jesus' blood and body, to believing that the universe is a benign and loving something-something that wants us to be happy.
Wouldn't that be cool?
Don't get me wrong- I believe in miracles. The pragmatic miracles as I call them. The creation of life whether human or bean sprout, the love we can have for others that delights and sustains us, the fact that humans can survive unbearable things with grace. Sunrises, sunsets, camellias, art, eggs.
But I do not believe that if you write down five things you're grateful for every day you will become a happier person.
I think I've said this before but I can remember as a child singing a song that I guess is a hymn whose lyrics go, "Count your blessings, count them one by one/And you'll be surprised to see what god has done."
Sounded good to me. So I tried it. I counted up those blessings. I had a place to live and food to eat and whatever else an eight-year old considered a blessing in her life.
Guess what? None of the horrible stuff in my life that was happening changed in the least. And it also raised the question- if god had done the good stuff for me, who was doing the bad stuff?
It was all rather mystifying.
I've never had a problem with being grateful. In fact, I may be hyper-grateful. But I am under no delusions that being grateful for so many things in my life has the slightest chance of negating that which has been, or may possibly be, incredibly difficult.
So yes. It's been one of those days. I can and do feel grateful for what I have and what my situation is and all the many blessings I have been given but that doesn't counteract my Sunday sadness, my feelings of hopelessness.
And then I looked out the kitchen door to see this.
But it reminds me that beauty alone is enough to make me want to wake up again tomorrow.