By David Joel Miller.
Weather influences our mood.
When I left the house today it was gloomy. Before I knew it I was gloomy. Guess that’s the way it works. The wind was blowing and everything is wet. For most of you that won’t sound unusual, for me it is. I live in a very dry part of Central California; water does not fall from the sky and get everything wet all that often. I checked to see if my neighbor turned his sprinkler up to high. He hadn’t. The street was wet everywhere.
The last time my car was this wet was when I went through the car wash. Why did a little bit of rain put me in such a dark mood?
This would be a nice day to sit curled up by a fire. I used to love to sit by the fire in another place, long ago, when we had that fireplace. How primitive. I imagined how long ago people might gather around the fire in their cave. Now we have houses with fireplaces. Today might be a “no burn” day because of the air pollution. We have more bad air alerts than before. I would huddle round the fire but I have central heat and air. Huddling around a floor vent just isn’t the same. Besides, I have to go to work.
Does the weather really affect my mood that much?
Was it just a few days ago that we changed the clocks? Ever since the time change, everyone at work has been complaining that they have not been able to sleep right. Is it because the weather warmed and the days are getting brighter? Do my moods really change at the drop of a few sunbeams or rain drops? All this civilization and my mood changes with the weather like a plant growing towards the light. Does today know it is gloomy?
The birds are missing from the tree today. I miss the birds. Most days they are up and cooing when I leave for work. I have not seen them nesting yet. I know that when they build their nests the male will be missing all day sitting on the nest. Then only the female will come around in the daylight looking for food.
I have had a fondness, a sense of connection to the birds, the pigeons and doves, ever since my father and I built that building in the back yard to house my first two pigeons. And that day he told me the story of how his father, my grandfather, used to raise birds in his backyard. Birds mostly nest alone. They must have hunkered down somewhere. The world seems so empty when the birds are away. Do the birds get lonely when the sky turns gloomy?
The Camellias look so defeated. The rain in the night has beaten them down. I remember other camellia bushes from long ago. Sitting under the windows at the high school I used to attend. They looking forlorn another day I remember so long ago, the day the loudspeakers in the school told us that the president had been shot. That day was gloomy also. The blooms remind me of my youth, the blossoms knocked to the ground tell me of things past.
There are no squirrels out today. They must all be snug in some nest in a whole in the ground. The idea of crawling into a hole in the ground does not make me feel any less gloomy. Maybe you need to be a squirrel to understand the comforts of holes. Do squirrels get gloomy?
As I drive through the rain, I think about the way I feel. There is that friend I haven’t seen in a long time. I need to make the time to see friends again. I think about an old friend, No emails between us for a long time. Maybe tonight after work I will write that email I have been putting off. Maybe I will talk with someone today while we work.
Is that the difference between animals and people? They say animals when frightened or upset look for things, holes, nests and caves. People, when we are gloomy and sad look for other people.
My cat stares at me from the window and watches as I drive away.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books