This is one of those weeks when I really have no idea what to write. The idea of the Monday Musings posts is that I compose something based on what I’m thinking about. But this week . . . well, let’s just say I’m not prepared to do that.
Sometimes our thoughts are not meant to be shared. Or they’re not ready for public viewing. Sometimes they are too private, too hard, too raw.
Those of us who depend on social media for professional purposes are, of course, all too aware of the many, many problems inherent in the medium itself. We struggle to find ways to reduce our lives and careers to digestible units. We strive to come across as upbeat, to announce our successes with the proper blend of pride and humility, to paper over our disappointments, to reveal enough of our private selves to appear accessible but not so much that our posts come across as creepy or maudlin or inappropriate.
I have actually shared a lot over the years, perhaps more than I should. I have written of professional letdowns, personal loss, mental health issues. At times, I’ve wondered if I’ve crossed some line by being too honest, too open. More often than not, I am come down on the side of candor, believing that perhaps my own struggles, whether private or professional, might be illustrative for others. I’ve thought that by revealing a bit more of myself, I might help someone else.
Earlier this week, I took my usual morning walk along the rails-to-trails path near our home. It was raining. Not a soft drizzle, but a substantial rain. I put on rain gear and I walked anyway. I had the path entirely to myself. I did my usual walk — three and a half miles; nearly an hour — and I didn’t see another soul, which is pretty unusual for this route.
The night before, we’d had a frenzied series of storms, one after another bringing pelting rain, angry winds, and a near continuous dialogue of lightning flashes and grumbling thunder. But by morning, the worst of the storms had passed.
As I walked, rain tapped on the forest canopy, on the brush around me, on the woodland floor. And also on me, on my raincoat. The rhythm was the same, but the tone was different, as if I were a tympani tuned to a different pitch. Most of the birds I usually encounter on my walk were hunkered down and silent, though a male cardinal flew across the path, chipping ecstatically. I have no idea what had him so excited. Streams, newly replenished, chortled among the trees, happy to be running once more.
And through it all, I walked and thought and tried to find peace, solace, strength, inspiration — anything really. I suppose mostly I wanted a path out of the musings that had gripped me for days. The musings I was, and still am, in no state to share. Nothing came.
No, that’s not true. I did feel at peace while I was walking. I did find inspiration for this post in the sounds and sights of the rain. And maybe to ask for more is to ask for too much. There may be magic to be found in a summer morning walk through a warm rain, but I don’t know if there are miracles.
This is another strange post, I know. I have written several in recent weeks and months. Times are hard. Some weeks I can find something to write about, a thought thread that distracts and even entertains me. Other weeks, I can’t be diverted. Life holds sway and I can’t pretend to care about other stuff.
Next week, perhaps, I will write something less strange, less cryptic. The women’s World Cup is winding down, and I have wanted to write about that. Maybe I will. Next week. In the meantime, you have my apologies for the vagueness, the navel-gazing. As I say, life is hard right now. And my walks in the rain can only last so long.
Have a great week.