The weather doesn’t necessarily need to be calm and sunny to provide consolation to my weary mind. An overcast day with cold drizzle also has a way of bringing closure and positivity to the day. I turn the way we’ve been taught to feel about such days on its head and see cloudy days as beautiful, not gloomy. Even the hot, dry days that I dislike, have a desolate, desperate beauty that is calming in an unusual way. Perhaps I’m just a four-seasons sort of guy with a slight preference for winter.
On those rare days when I don’t feel like going outdoors, there is the mysterious quality of music that enables communion with its composers. Although vocal music provides more explicit messages, it is the ambiguous nature of instrumental music that I prefer. I don’t want to be boxed into one particular train of thought by song lyrics. Instrumental music “speaks” to me in an ethereal, expansive manner by taking my consciousness away from the default mode of self-centeredness.
Many people find consolation in traditional religions, and I have sympathy for those who do. However, religion doesn’t speak to me the way it does to some. I don’t fit into any formal category of religion or spirituality–not even “spiritual but not religious”. My inner world simply feels spacious and free. I find comfort and consolation in simply letting go.
By letting go of the desire to be saved or special or great, my world opens up and expands. While this way of being is beautiful to me, the last thing I want to do is proselytize. After all, everyone has the inborn right to find beauty and consolation in the things and by the means that work for themselves. In the same way that I dislike being sold a particular spiritual path, I do not wish to crusade in favor of a certain path, either. I prefer to reach out to kindred spirits.
You might say that I’m simply happy and thankful to be alive. I’m grateful that curiosity is a big part of my personality. I like to search for the core of how something works. I was the boy who enjoyed disassembling radios to try and figure out what made them emit sound. I was the adolescent who checked out the latest non-fiction and how-to books that revealed the nuts and bolts about stuff. If you think that the library is my cathedral, you’re correct.
Then there are times when the mind needs simple calm. There are times when it needs respite from demands to believe, and analyze. Those are the times when wordless, peaceful silence brings the most consolation. When Cat, the orange stray visits me each morning there is simple happiness that is shared between us. As I walk on the bicycle trail while the afternoon drizzle moistens my face and clouds my eyeglasses, I feel “at one” with the Earth.
Sometimes while driving the car, I feel gratitude for the people and factories that manufactured the vehicle. I’m glad that there are people who want to design and build the highways and bridges. Driving someplace on a well-built road is pleasant and satisfying. I’m happy to be able to go places. I’m consoled when I return home.
Basically, I’m just saying that I’m happy to find consolation in all things, great and small.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders something from novelist Norman Douglas. “There is in us a lyric germ or nucleus which deserves respect; it bids a man to ponder or create; and in this dim corner of himself he can take refuge and find consolations which the society of his fellow creatures does not provide.”