Weathering Mood Swings

It is still cold. We had a day or two of high 80’s but that seems like eons ago. I’d like to say I’m not complaining, just stating facts. The truth is, I am feeling grumpy and growly and crosswise and I AM complaining! But I don’t like myself much when that happens so I decided to funnel some energy into more positive channels. I turned my blue funky mood into this poem.

Mood Swings

Heavy clouds leaking rain
cast cold shadows
across the slice of warmth
streaming through my window.
Steady drum of thunder
accompanies
staccato raindrop notes
pelting the glass.
My mood plummets
to the soles
of my feet.
I contemplate
spoiled plans.
There will be no
walk to the lake
for the outdoor concert.
Not today.
I pull a sweater
tight around my shoulders,
grumbling,
just as the slice of warmth
reappears
streaming through my window.
 

Of course the minute I sat down with my notebook and pen I was mentally in a different place. As I thought about the thunder and the rain and how to describe the way I heard it and saw it and felt it, I forgot to be grumpy. Then, by the time I had finished my poem, the sun was out. So…

I walked to the lake.

Rainbow over Lake Harriet in Minneapolis

Photo by Debbie Donovan

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A Storm, a Flood, or an Optimist?

I’m waiting for the storm. We may get 3 inches of rain tonight. For my friends in Indonesia who read this blog I know that sounds like a non-event. Trust me, in the midwest it means flooding. Unlike Bali, our ground isn’t equipped to absorb all that moisture so quickly. On the other hand, we may not get a drop. The sky can brood and bluster all it wants, but in Minnesota that doesn’t guarantee anything.

So I’m watching the lead-colored bottoms of the clouds with anticipation. It’s a cozy feeling. Intimate. And it can turn to abject terror in moments if the wind begins to rage and trees topple over. I felt inspired to write a quick Haiku:

Clouds form gray mountains

The air waits breathless and still

Nothing else happens.

The storm that never comes is a lot like expecting the worst. I’m a shameless optimist. I always (yes always) anticipate the best to the point of neglecting to prepare for less agreeable alternatives. I have a friend who is the opposite. He always imagines every conceivable disaster and prepares for it, just in case! I tell him he frets enough for both of us. I have another friend who worries but does nothing. I neither worry, nor prepare, just go blissfully on my merry way oblivious to dire circumstances lurking at every turn. As a result I never get sick, never have accidents, never seriously hurt myself, and have an average happiness factor of 9.9 on a scale of 10.

Personality differences are of great interest to me. I didn’t one day decide that I would be an optimist. I just am. I’m sure my friends didn’t set out to behave as they do. They just do. My three daughters are unique and wonderful and very happy, but unlike each other as they could possibly be. Why is that?

Thousands of words have been written about this subject and there are many self-help “how to be happy” books. But if you’re like my worrying friends, its a difficult task. Happiness doesn’t come naturally to them. It’s probably possible only in flashes, like lightening, then quickly followed by an ominous roll of thunder, which I haven’t heard yet tonight but the wind is picking up. I’m going to find a spot on the porch and settle in to watch what may, or may not, happen.

Summer storm approaches

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