Rural Traffic

Melancholy. That word fits my mood like a glove. When nearly all of one’s memories seem bitter-sweet, melancholy assuredly is either the cause or the result. I suppose logic would tell me melancholy emerges from bitter-sweet memories. Yet that same logic would say bitter-sweet memories are cultivated and drawn out by melancholy moods. Regardless of whether causation is involved or it is mere association, a distinct relationship exists between bittersweet memories and melancholy moods.


Writing, in a style intended to be comedic, about melancholy apparently does not lessen the greyness of the mood. Nor does peering intently at a clear blue sky through the leaves and branches of a forest of trees. That eternal faith healer, Time, may be the only reliable treatment for melancholy—though “reliable” may not be quite right. Actually, Time is reliable only to the extent that “eventually” Time heals all wounds. Therefore, melancholy may last a lifetime but, eventually, it will be bested by Time. In the event that is the case, it might be advisable to get comfortable with melancholy. Today, my late wife and I would have celebrated our 43rd anniversary.


I woke extremely late again this morning, a deviation from my routine I will not long tolerate. When I get up late, I feel anxious and out of sorts, as if a crucial element of the day is missing. And, of course, it is. The early, pre-dawn opportunity to ease, slowly, into conscious darkness and to coax full readiness for the day from my brain escapes me when I sleep late. I am thrown into the day like a Christian cast into an arena with a hungry lion. At that point, attempting to cope with the abrupt start to the day is the only option. I try not to consider how many Christians triumphed over the lions.


In just a short while, I have to drive to town to visit with my cardiologist’s APN. It’s just a check-up, but it’s a check-up that interrupts my serenity (such as it is). I have other obligations throughout the day today and continuing on tomorrow. I am in one of those rare states of mind in which I think I would truly enjoy a month-long vacation to the Bahamas, where I would stay at a secluded resort and spend every hour of every day sitting on the beach, just soaking in the sun. At the end of each day, I would rinse out all of my clothes—a single swim-suits—and hang it to dry overnight. The next morning, I would go to the beach, get comfortable, and daydream all day until the time comes to repeat the process.


I can wait no longer. It is time to brush my teeth, comb my hair, and head in to town. My enthusiasm for the day is, I hope, at a low ebb. Perhaps some time in rural traffic will boost my mood.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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