|Kaffe Fassett needlepoint.|
When he was much younger, my son would describe himself by saying, "I feel a bit dreary" when he was in the process of becoming ill. He is descended from two generations that read way too much Edward Gorey. Dreary doesn't get me in a choke-hold the way it once did but living the human experience can ambush us with disheartening moments, frequently brought on by our own minds and not specific external events. Thus we seek avenues of cheer upon which we can be reminded that there is a sunny side of the street, regardless of what's going on (gestures with head) over there.
What happens to me is that I can forget the simple, accessible, free and non-food things that make me happy, forget them as though they never existed. Wait! I exclaim to myself. How did I not remember the way certain voices or instruments, lyrics, types of music produce pangs of joy? It is not just age, it is not amnesia, though I think amnesia must feel a bit like it. For a variety of reasons, I think we wander away from ourselves. Fatigue produces a mental fog, as does pain, illness, lack of sleep, distraction, any of the naturally lower points that occur as we undulate our way, up and down, through the days.
I don't believe there is anyone completely immune to a sagging spirit. It need not last long nor arrive often. Just a state that is brightened (in my case literally), lightened by what delights us most. For reasons too vague to ponder, we only just began watching the second season of HBO's series, TREME. In the first episodes we saw last night there was a singer with a Sam Cooke voice and there was Lucia Micarelli, singing and playing the violin - heart-breakingly, again in the best sense.
Even when there is nary a shadow to remind us that darker moments do exist, what could be the harm in filling up on our favorite fizzy lifting drinks? Based on very old business, I can tend to be stingy with myself, ration the sources of joyfulness as though they would run out or I was not fully deserving. For this instant and, I hope, many instants to follow, I will be lavish, I will spoil myself with color and music, with beauty and every gleaming ray of life affirmed that I can find. Why would we do less? Take heart and we will dance together beneath a Kaffe Fassett-imagined sky. Yes, I think the band has started.