|Hooded mergansers, taken by Joe Meche|
On my other blog I was complaining at the beginning of last week about the constant gloomy days, rain without end, it seemed, and almost immediately I was blessed with three days of sunshine that changed my mood from grumpiness to smiles. I noticed the difference everywhere, too: the expressions of my fellow riders on the bus; the exercise room filled with the sun's rays as we chatted before class about the beautiful weather; and the flowers opening up to the sun and seemingly smiling, too.
Then yesterday, just in time for Saturday and hopes to drive to Snohomish for a few skydives, the rain and low clouds returned. My day was changed from excitement to more of the same dreariness that I have become so accustomed to. Cliff Mass, my favorite weather blogger, explains here about the reason for what is called "June gloom" around these parts, which are caused by the transition between the cool weather of spring and the warmer weather to come in July. He explains it very well, but it appears that climate change will make it even more prevalent in the coming years. There are problems with the weather in almost every place I've ever lived, so I guess I'll get used to it and be grateful that we don't have tornadoes or cyclones or other major disasters on a regular basis.
What has been on my mind this past week has mostly focused on the imperceptible change from one state to another. This is true in the progression of the season from spring to summer across the Northern Hemisphere as well as the change in my emotional state from serenity to dissatisfaction. One moment I am happy and content, just minding my own business, and it feels like it will always be that way. I don't notice the shift, but then I slowly begin to realize that every little thing is causing me irritation. What changed? And when?
It's beginning to become clear that as I get older I have developed some chronic pain here and there. Most of the time I don't even notice these little aches, but occasionally I realize that it's a little like having a pebble in my shoe: I don't notice it at first, but as I walk through my life, that little pebble begins to feel like a boulder. If I don't stop and remove it, nothing else makes it to my consciousness and it becomes my sole focus. The realization that the aches and pains of life cannot be removed so easily tells me that I need to change my attitude about those annoyances.
This must be why it's so important to get perspective on things by stopping to smell the flowers, listening to the wind in the trees, the sound of birdsong, and being grateful for having the ability to make the decision to look beyond the mist to the sun behind the clouds. In just the short time it took to write this, my attitude and perspective have shifted to peaceful gratitude from the grumpiness I felt when I woke, looked out the window and saw the low clouds greeting me.
I might not be going skydiving again today, but I will head to the Y and swim for a half hour instead. There is something very enriching about swimming laps. I usually sneak a peek at the other swimmers and notice their technique to learn something new. The only really hard part about swimming for exercise is making myself get there and begin, donning earplugs, goggles and swim cap.
Yesterday I walked in the rain with my friends and we chatted as we walked briskly enough to keep ourselves warm. The pebble in my shoe was forgotten.