From the laundry pile on the floor I selected the black-and-white checkered shirt that I'd been wearing all week.
I'll just wear this again, I thought.
Or when I walked the dog, out in the cheerful autumn colors, I didn’t really see the colors. The dog trotted around happily, pooping in the tall grass, sniffing out a chipmunk underneath a log, but I didn’t really see her, either. I was in the grey cloud. (Not that we’ll call it depression, of course. Absolutely not; what a downer.)
I will always feel this way, I thought, watching her trot through the grass. I will always be sad.
That’s what it feels like. Maybe you know; maybe you’ve been there. In that grey cloud, it looks like there’s no way out. You can’t see how things ever will feel different from the way they do now.
But – maybe there comes a time when something pokes through that.
And I don’t mean something grand.
For me it went something like this.
In the damp grey of early December, I had run out to the reservoir. The dog bounded along beside me.
Then she stopped.
A late flock of Canadian geese was there. The dog froze, watching them. The geese were just across the reservoir, some of them on the shore, others floating in the water, all of them honking, making a terrible racket.
The dog looked. She took a step forward, toward the water’s edge. She sat, she tucked her hind legs beneath her. I came and squatted beside her. She turned to me and wagged her tail, and then went back to looking.
We stayed for a while like that. The geese were late. They were on their way south – to Florida? Mexico? Already it was December and they were still so far north.
I felt a sudden worry for them: Would they be okay?
I watched and listened to them honking.
It was already so cold. How would they make it all the way south?
My brow furrowed as I watched them. They didn’t know what trouble lay ahead.
And then I smiled. I broke a real smile.
I was worrying about the geese.
Probably they don’t need me to worry for them, I thought, smiling at myself. They do this every year. Every fall, and every spring.
And I felt a certain lightness, all of a sudden. The geese would be okay. They would return in the spring, just like they always did. I didn’t need to worry. It would be okay.
And now, right now, as I write this, it’s spring.
It’s the middle of March, and patches of wet muddy ground have reappeared from beneath the snow. And the other day I was driving, coming down a hill to a stretch of flatland.
And all of a sudden, in the sky out ahead, there were the geese. A whole great flock of them.
"The geese!" I said, looking up at them, getting choked up.
I had someone in the car with me.
"This is weird," I said. "But, uh, I might cry."