Better Than This?


I’ve been feeling a little low lately. More than a little, some days. And though I can easily list excuses for my mood, no good reasons exist. Whether my complaints are work-related, or due to weather, loneliness, energy level, global warming, politics or the fact that I saw five dead animals (one frog, two snakes, a chipmunk and a bird) in the road on one morning walk, it’s not enough. Others are experiencing the same, or worse. Even I have had it worse, at times in my life, and handled it better.

I look for reasons to explain the mood, but the mood comes first. Often for no reason at all. I wake up one morning with a cloud hanging over my head. I know what to do, as I’ve dealt with depression for much of my adult life. I maintain my daily practices of walking, writing, and spending time in the fresh air. I keep lists of daily accomplishments so that, when it seems I’ve done nothing of value, I can prove myself wrong. I try to fit time into my day for calm reflection. I hug the dogs. Most of the time, this keeps me on an even keel.

Sometimes, the sadness lingers. Then my mind works to justify it. The world lends a hand. Any news on any day could serve to justify a dark mood. And my life, which is not perfect either, jumps right in to help. I have too much to do, and I’m so very far behind. At work, I am unappreciated, unrecognized and probably under-paid. Weeds grow in my garden. There’s got to be more to life than what I’m experiencing, I say to myself. There’s got to be something better than this.

When I woke up this morning, the fog had lifted. A summer breeze cooled the room. Over a cup of green tea, I wrote three longhand pages in a snap. I didn’t have to think long or hard over what I was grateful for. Rosa Parks joined me on the chair. I poured my first cup of coffee into a sunny yellow mug.

I checked my mail, but not the news. I walked two miles with the dogs. Because of the breeze, and the cooler air, I walked without my usual shroud of mosquito netting. And was not bothered by bugs. Blackie Chan made me laugh out loud by running ahead, then circling back just to hear me say, “Good boy!” Four deer crossed the road far ahead of us.

Coming back down the driveway, pink hollyhocks and orange day lilies offered a riotous greeting. In the garden, I gathered two ripe tomatoes, one green pepper, a dozen green beans and a handful of raspberries. As I cradled the morning’s bounty in my two hands to bring it inside, I thought, “What could be better than this?” Indeed.

About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

10 responses »

  1. Oh I SO relate to your beautiful words. This has been me, these past few days too. Blah. But here I am today, writing posts, visiting blogs, pulling weeds and planning a trip to buy more nectarines ( I am addicted to nectarines!) I don’t know what brought the mood on either. The changing light? The sudden death of my husband’s driver? A natural letdown from two crazy fun days? I’m proud of myself because I think this was the first time I saw myself as ill instead of bashing myself for being broken or damaged. It was the first time I was kind to myself. Really, truly, humanely kind.
    I appreciate your post. Its always nice to know another human experiences these things too.

    • This brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for this kind and generous response! I think it’s natural to look for what is wrong when it FEELS so much like something’s wrong. And when I look, of course I can always find something. I’m glad your mood has lifted, too. Maybe for both of us it was just the alignment of the stars!

      • ❤
        That darn negative bias our brains have. Messing things up 🙂
        I like to think of that, it was just the alignment of the stars…
        Much love to you!

  2. I see we are going through a similar experience. This too shall pass. I have severely curtailed my attention to the news lately and it has helped so much. I think if I could walk with the deer and the dogs at the same time, that would be powerful medicine as well.

  3. What a gorgeous, honest, and yes uplifting post, Cindy. This is life. The ups, down, and ups again. The doubting ourselves and our worth, and then realizing that really, walking in nature, hugging a dog/a grandchild/a neighbor and sharing smiles – this is what it’s all about. This is the best value that love can bring. ❤

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