Yesterday morning began with my being awakened at 5:15 by my cat, Spirit, reprising the previous two or three mornings of meowling at the top of his considerable lungs outside my bedroom door, which I keep closed at night specifically to prevent him waking me up several times during the night by walking all over me, licking my hair, or putting his nose an inch from mine to check to see if I'm still breathing. (Wow! A 75-word sentence! I'm going for the Guinness!) My response was to throw a slipper at the door and, when that didn't work, jumping out of bed, banging the door with my fist, jerking it open and chasing him around the apartment, yelling at him. (Maturity is the cornerstone of my being.)
He remained on my shit list for a couple of hours, but we finally made up.
Last night, anticipating a repeat of the scenario, I filled a spray bottle with water and put it on the dresser beside my bedroom door.
But this morning I awoke at 6:15 from an uninterrupted sleep filled with pleasant dreams. When I got up and turned on the computer—part of my first-thing-in-the-morning ritual—I found a Google Alert to a link to an unexpected and very nice review of one of my books. It was all the more appreciated because it was from a reader I'd made contact with through a readers' network site just a few days before.
The point of this recitation, and the purpose of this blog, is to contemplate how different two successive mornings can be and, by extension how strange and fascinating are the vagaries of life.
Because we are such busy individuals in such a busy society, we have set aside one day of the year for the purpose of showing gratitude for the good things in our lives, thereby sparing ourselves the necessity to thinking much about them the other 364 days. But perhaps we should at least be a lot more conscious and appreciative of them.
Life is like looking through the glass window of a clothes dryer on “Tumble”—the marvelous (white silks) and the good (whites) and the bad (dark colors) and the absolutely terrible (winter coats and heavy jeans) are all tossed in together and come tumbling past the window with seemingly total randomness. And while we spend very little time looking through the window of a clothes dryer, perhaps we should with this blog in mind.
Because humans are programmed to expect the good of life, we tend to pay little or no attention to it when we're experiencing the good things. Our focus seems drawn only to the frequent not-so-good, the occasional bad, and the fortunately rare absolutely terrible. The fact that humans are both physical and mental beings adds complexity to the equation. You can be feeling fine physically, but be plagued by worries or troubles having nothing to do with the physical body; or, conversely, a physical problem of one degree or another can offset the balance. To me, a perfect day, is one in which I am totally unaware of my body and am not mentally unhappy about anything. The perfect temperature, for example, is the one at which you are completely unaware of it. The perfect mental state is one in which it is free to concentrate on whatever task you have set for it.
The tumble-dry of life ends only when our cycle is over; in the meantime we should concentrate on looking for the whites passing by the window, and more fully appreciate just how nice they are and how lucky we are to have them.