Monday, August 29, 2011

I'm quite sure I'm uncertain.

Thanks for the kind comments on the last post; and thanks to Mary Ellen:

Anonymous mary ellen said...

Miss you Greenpa. Hope all is well with you and the beautiful girl.

I miss you guys, too. I've been struggling with a bad dose of "writer's block" for some time now; not the blog so much, but some professional writing I've promised to do and need to do. I've been trying to break that block, so all my available writing energy has been going there. To no real avail.

Many reasons. And it's not as easy to just whip off a blog post here as it used to be. The world has become even more uncertain. I could fill up the blog with lists of our woes, easily enough. But; really- I figure you guys have woes enough of your own, yes?
My Theory Of The Popularity Of Soap Opera is not so much the commonly cited "misery loves company", but that the great majority of folks can watch a soap and sigh in relief "at least my life isn't as screwed up as they are!" I could probably provide that sort of entertainment.
But it's kind of cheap relief. I would like to be able to offer something more substantive. And right now, between tornadoes, earthquakes, nuclear meltdowns, hurricanes, political chaos... etc.... it just gets hard to find, sometimes.

It's all pretty depressing, in fact. And neither you, nor I , need more depressing.

At my time of life, I've been through multiple episodes of depressing circumstances. When you find yourself becoming petrified by it all, one of the tools that can help pull your socks up is to remember - actively - there is good, and beautiful, stuff in the world, all the time. Then you make yourself notice it. That's the thing- when the burdens get really heavy, and the blows from the careless universe pile up- we stop seeing the good bits.

They're there, though. And in exactly that frame of mind, I looked up and out my window.

And this is what was right, immediately in front of me. Burning-bright in a spot of August sunlight, surrounded by the shadowed forest.

It's just two sprays of goldenrod, lost in the woods. I have fields full of the stuff. So much that I forget to look at it.

But I looked at this. And remembered. There is beauty to be seen. Pleasure to be taken, just for the look. If the "click for bigger" feature is working, you will find a wasp in the upper left corner; collecting nectar I'm pretty sure. Good to see one out doing simple work.

Of course the irony of having this natural gold, mine for the visual collection, occurred to me; with so much intense, fierce, fussing about the metallic kind now going on.

It's there. Free. Easy. Eternal. If you can remember: look for it.

I felt better, after noticing. And - two days later - it's still with me.

Hang in there, folks. We're all in this together.


Aimee said...

That is good advice. I have also been paralyzed by fear and uncertainty lately - contemplating the future, much less actively planning for it, as I am trying to do, is a deeply disturbing task. Especially if you happen to be reading Bill McKibben's "Eaarth," as I am.

Thank you for the reminder that simply turning our gaze outward to the beauty that surounds us always is useful, helpful, and invigorating. We should all strive to make it a habit.

I'm going to share with you an anecdote that I love for how it illustrates my mother - brilliant, funny, vulgar woman that she is. But it has immediate bearing, as well. I was talking to her once about the dismal prospects for the future of my (then) recently born children. "where," I asked her, "are they going to be able to find beauty in a ruined world?"

"You'll just have to teach them how to see," answered my mother, a child psychologist by training. "After all, even dogshit is beautiful through a microscope."

And that, my friend, is my new mantra.


Doyu Shonin said...


Greenpa said...

Aimee- lol. Yeah, that's a tad vulgar- and, of course, very true. I'm not entirely sure I'd really want that, exactly as stated, for a mantra, though! It's just a little jarring! How about, instead- two lines, and repeat-

Ordure Examined Exalts!
Ordure Exalted Exults!

Ask your mom how she likes that version. :-)

and Risa- (warmth) :-)

Dani said...

Greenpa - not always easy to look for the good / uplifting / inspiring when one is feeling otherwise.

Thank you for sharing your simple solution - and the goldenrood are beautiful too :)

Bee Girl said...

Thanks for that. Beauty truly is everywhere, you just have take the time to stop and see it.

Anonymous said...

stumbled upon the following article the very day i had a new great-niece, so i had more the usual dose of sentimentality flowing:

(there's more videos you can find if ya want. plus her blog. plus her dad's blog. i've watched/read most of them since first stumbling across her story.)

so there are inspiring people in the world. and there are many people in the world with far less than americans that manage to find something to smile about.


Brad K. said...


My own "Theory Of The Popularity Of Soap Opera". I think there is an element of castle theatre, of watching people indulging in expensive pursuits, in nice clothes all the time. Of being people of power and lives of luxury.

I think this "princesses and kings" grandeur was part of the appeal of "The American President" movie and the TV follow-on, "The West Wing".

There is the hoping the good guy wines, the hero gets the girl, and that despite the odds sometimes even the bad guys get what is coming to them.

And soap operas continue a story line for a very long time. Folks that want the beginning, middle, and end of the story in too short a time for them to get bored won't be interested in soap operas. Some of us like series of novels over single novel stories, too.

Smidgeon makes a delightful picture girl.

Blessings to all.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Greenpa!

Writers block sucks- I have had it since 1996 when I sat to make my homepage. Got to 'Hello'. Still working on what else to say.

Go pick some goldenrod, make a cup of tea, and relax :)

Nancy said...

I seldom post, but I do read your blog and I have wondered where you were. Glad to head all is well.

My answer to all this depressing news....put on my backpack and head to the woods. It is beautiful, relaxing and easy to leave the world behind for awhile.......

gaias daughter said...

Greenpa -- Thanks for the reminder that true gold is to be found in the glow of a flower -- even one that is often considered to be a weed.

I've recently found that the antidote to all the angst that wants to take up residence in my gut is nature journaling. I take a sketch pad and go sit on our dock for half an hour or so, observe, and take notes -- I'm not much at sketching, but I try a bit of that, too -- it's impossible to sketch without first observing. Making notes about the direction of the wind, the clouds in the sky, the behavior of a wasp that comes to water's edge for a drink calms me, reassures me that nature is amazingly resilient, and chases chaos from my churning mind. I don't do it every day, but when I do, I find more joy and less trauma in the rest of my day.