I sat on the deck yesterday evening watching Jack and Fiona get out their last hoorah before bedtime. As I looked at the hillside, between the small Oak and Bay, the hill light brown, the sky pure october blue, “it’s so beautiful” I said, and at the same time I felt a deep penetrating sadness. How can a sight be so beautiful and so very sad at the same time? Is it age and knowledge that creates such contrasting emotions and feelings about things? Is it a psychological affliction I should take medication to nullify? What did I think about that made me sad at such a happy moment? Global warming? The inevitable death of all of us and everything? I went from the deck to the kitchen, back and forth a few times bringing the babies nighttime snacks, Cleaning a dish, putting away the leftovers from dinner. I peered out the window to check on the babies. They smiled and looked at me, “maaamaa”
“Hi babies” I laughed, then started to tell my story about the night,
“It’s almost night time now”
“Whoo whoo” says Jack.
“Yes, that’s right Jack. The owl will come out when it gets dark”
“Mama” he says.
“The sun is down now and the moon is coming up. The birds are going to sleep now, all except the owl, whoo whoo.”
” The racoons, the skunk, and the coyotes will come out. The squirrels will go to sleep, and the stars and the moon will come out”
The babies listen to me through the screen, they are beginning to love the story. I ‘ve been expanding it every day and Jack seems less and less scared of the dark.
I have an image of myself as the babies and I age together, telling the story of the night, as my face fills with wrinkles, as the babies grow long and lean into little kids, my story will grow longer and more elaborate, investigating life under the fallen trees, deep in the oceans, and way up high in the solar system.
Maybe the sadness in the beauty comes from the fear of forgetting or not noticing all the nooks and cranies of life, of dying in a blink of an eye, of knowing everything is fleeting and decaying.
And maybe since sadness is an equal to beauty and happiness it’s just as important and valuable, even though it’s an uncomfortable feeling.