This morning I awoke grumpy. Rufus had fidgeted, scratched and rearranged himself in my bed for the last two hours of my sleep. And those two hours had been arbitrarily changed from 4:30-6:30 to 5:30-7:30 because of Daylight Savings Time. Not a fan. Now the sun is rising at 7:20. Grr. But Iâ€™ll not labor over that or burden you with my many thoughts on that subject. It was also a very gloomy morning, no crack in the deep cloud cover for brightness or blue to poke through. I thought, â€œThis could be a storybook day if only there was even a tiny opening or two in those clouds, or clouds chasing each other across the sky, or perhaps a fall of rain or even a thunderstorm.â€ And then perhaps cookies would be baked.
Storybook days are those blustery, cloud-thick days, like we do have often enough in March and November. They invite nostalgia for childhood and for my sonsâ€™ childhoods. They make me want to fill up little books with pictures and scribblings, things pasted in, perhaps. Or maybe Iâ€™d mess about with small pots of paint or decide to write something, pausing now and then for an oatmeal cookie with bits of chocolate inside. These are days when I can imagine a squirrel named Russell having tea and crumpets with a couple of young rabbits (Olivia and Charlotte) and a dashing red fox called Leroy, all well-mannered and polite. Perhaps theyâ€™d tell of a recent adventure. Or plan one!
I took my dogs out the door for a short walk around the neighborhood, observing the various newnesses of near-Springâ€“Naked Lady shoots, spiky gumballs lying around, broken acorns on the ground, as well as wondering at the disrepair of a grand old house on Broadwayâ€“why? And then guess what? A light drizzling rain started up! Voila! Storybook day. This really put a spring in my step and improved my attitude. Once again nature proves that just about any day is better when youâ€™re out in it than when youâ€™re just inside, feeling crabby about the clock and judging the day by its cloud cover.
Iâ€™d like to share this beautiful writing from Pema Chodron, something a friend sent me when I was laid up with broken bones and could not do anything, not even read a book. It was hugely comforting.
â€œOn a day of silence like today, when things are very still, you may find that you are feeling grim and doing everything with a grim expression: grimly opening the door, grimly drinking your water, concentrating so hard on being quiet and still, moving so slowly that youâ€™re miserable. On the other hand, you could just relax and realize that, behind all the worry, complaint and disapproval that goes on in your mind, the sun is always coming up in the morning, moving across the sky, and going down in the evening. The birds are always out there collecting their food and making their nests and flying across the sky. The grass is always being blown by the wind or standing still. Food and flowers and trees are growing out of the Earth. Thereâ€™s enormous richness. You could develop your passion for life and your curiosity and interest. You could connect with your joyfulness. You could start right now . . . Acknowledging the preciousness of each day is a good way to live, a good way to connect with our basic joy.â€
I hope you find lots of little ways to connect with your joyfulness on this day and all of them.
If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on myÂ website. And if you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.
Thanks for listening,
P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”