I drove home this evening in the cloudy, blue-grey twilight. As I approached my own neighborhood, I caught sight of two flocks of Canada Geese high above the tree line, making their V-shaped way to warmer climes.
Although I was taken aback, it fit. I was aware of the early darkening sky as I finished up with my last client at 4:30 pm today; the light in our therapy room felt noticeably different. It wasn’t just because I had dimmed the lights for a boy who came in anxious and unable to concentrate. I had helped him make a blanket fort and then turned out the lights, allowing him to calm down on his own until he emerged from under the heavy blanket five minutes later, ready to work. No, it was the outside sky that was darkening early.
These are dark days in most every way, it seems. American bank failures and bail outs, hurricane after hurricane slamming us, wars around the world, a treasured writer committing suicide over the weekend, a train crash in Los Angeles, rain flooding my own city that left damp spots on our ceiling, and this damnable Presidential campaign in which far too many people are taking a ridiculous pair of candidates seriously.
I have also become aware of one challenge inherent in adding “cyber friends” to the lively and beloved group of friends I’ve made over the years, and this is that, like anyone else, they have their ups and downs. This is as it should be – they are real people, after all – and yet it means that I am also tuned in to the fact that Mrs. Chicken’s newborn baby has been in the hospital for the past few days, that Slouching Mom is suddenly dealing with yet another major family emergency, that Niksmom is really struggling to get a decent night’s sleep, and that multiple friends are suffering from debilitating migraines these days. Riding these waves with our friends is simply something that goes with the territory of a strong friendship, and making connections online has brought more wonderful friends into my life than I’d have ever expected. Somehow it seems as if many of my friends are struggling at the moment, in sync with the rest of the world. It’s a lot to carry.
But as the night comes early and the geese are on their way out, I do what I can to bring light, laughter, and stability to my family for a couple hours and I think about these friends I have – from coast to coast, overseas, right next door, with some accessible to me instantaneously in seemingly futuristic ways – and my sadness is gradually replaced with gratitude. Yes, gratitude: because I know that just as I watch over our world from where I stand here in the middle of America, keeping company with fears at once both enormous and minute, so do they.
So do they.
This fills me with hope.