Sometimes in all our lives, sadness moves in a imperceptibly as a dank fog. We are not sure where it has come from or how long it will stay – a few hours or several weeks. We get busy, and the sadness disappears for a bit but we have a quiet moment, and there it is again. This kind of sadness moved into me some time ago, and one of the good things about being in my 50’s is that I am okay with being sad sometimes. Hard as a heavy heart is to live with, I understand in some way that I can’t explain that sadness is a gift – even when, maybe, especially when it is also a mystery.
Yesterday was my birthday, and by some lovely coincidence, I woke up with a light heart for the first time in a while. A light heart despite 3 or 4 inches of wet snow. A light heart even though my plan for the day – to observe the grasses and emerging plants on the coulee hills with my paints and a lunch was kyboshed (sp?) by muddy soft roads.
A light heart felt wonderful.
I wondered if some of my heavy heart was due to one of my daughters packing up all her belongings and heading out for new adventures and questing and friendships in Alberta and B.C. Funny thing – I have encouraged my daughters to be adventurous, curious, to walk off the beaten path, to ask good questions, to take risks, to show initiative – and then, when they do, my mother’s heart cries. I think of my daughter’s happy face in the airport last night, her two duffle bags crammed with her tent and sleeping bag, her gramma’s quilt, the books she loves, a favoured piece of pottery. I feel excitement for her AND it is hard to let go.
So, today I have a light heart and I feel teary. I realize that what I most want to do on this day is pretty much what I do many days. Ordinary things which bring such pleasure. Things like this: another daughter brings me a cup of dark killer coffee – she bought the beans in San Francisco. It is delicious. A phone call from an octogenarian aunt. Chores, pulling the twine off bales, collecting eggs, the close proximity and warm breath or soft sounds of the animals. Flossing my teeth and feeling grateful to have my dad’s good teeth. Stretching my belly and arms during a sun salutation. Chopping vegetables for chicken soup. Kneading dough for buns. Washing dishes in hot soapy water. A nap in the early afternoon on the sunshine couch with our oldest cat purring by my stomach. The challenge of the beautiful green paper I bought in Saskatoon, the need I feel to cut it out like a tree and roots… wanting to have this tree blossom with paper birds but it doesn’t quite work. Why?
The gifts of this day are soft and quiet – the difference a light and gently dancing heart makes….. the pleasure and joy in familiar and ordinary (but not so ordinary) routines….the chance to create, to wrestle with some idea, some image that wants out but isn’t quite ready to come; the company of family, of creatures, of friends who are dear as family.