Necessary terrain

There are days when I wake up and feel that all is right with the world. On such days of grace, I notice the sun shining, I catch the smile on the face of a stranger, or the spring in somebody’s step as they walk to work, and I just glory in the sheer astonishing fact of being here, alive on this planet, for yet one more day.

And then there are days when I simply cannot locate that feeling. Everything around me is the same, but something inside me is different – some veil of darkness that comes from within. On those days it is hard to see the smiles, but easy to see the sadness, the conflict, the tension in the faces around me.

We all go through these down times. Sometimes we know the reasons for our sadness, and sometimes we don’t. Perhaps a part of our mind is worrying upon the illness of someone we love. Or our attention has been caught by a stray scent, or a fleeting texture, that has reminded us of the loss of a friendship many years ago.

Often as not we have no idea what triggers these things. The feeling drifts into our mind like a heavy mist, darkening all thoughts in its wake. And then – just like that – it is gone again.

I used to think that I could will these feelings away – that I could exercise some trick, some mental jiu jitsu, to keep my mind from dwelling in the dark places. And then at some point I realized that these dips and valleys are integral to the process of being alive, are part of the necessary terrain.

Without the valleys, we would never recognize the peaks, would not be aware of our days of grace. What a shame that would be – to not know when you are standing on the mountain, and thereby miss your chance to shout for joy at being alive.

6 thoughts on “Necessary terrain”

  1. But this stream of thought is exactly a mind- jiu jitsu..

    sometimes it is a bad mood is acceptable, but I personally think it’s not essential for having positive peaks.

  2. Nice comments. Troy, I believe it was Burke and Johnson who first said:

    A long time ago a million years BC the best things in life were absolutely free. But no one appreciated a sky that was always blue. And no one congratulated a moon that was always new. So it was planned that they would vanish now and then, and you must pay before you get them back again. That’s what storms were made for and you shouldn’t be afraid.

    For every time it rains it rains pennies from heaven. Don’t you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven? You’ll find your fortune falling all over town – be sure that your umbrella is upside down. Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers. If you want the things you love you must have showers.

    So when you hear it thunder don’t run under a tree. There’ll be pennies from heaven for you and me.


  3. I love that song.

    I figured someone else must have written it, but, I remember Bing Crosby singing it. So, just like Boy Named Sue will always be Johnny Cash and not Shel Silverstein, I will remember Pennies from Heaven because of Bing Crosby…


  4. Yesterday I heard “Would you like to swing on a star”. I’d forgotten that it’s mostly admonitions. The upbeat chorus was all that had stuck in my mind.

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