There are some days you can feel the tragedies creep closer to home. They are there daily, certainly, all over the world, but on this day you wake up still bleary from the Colorado floods only to read the breaking news of a shooting – again, a shooting – with multiple dead, another military shooting too, as if those fellows don’t suffer enough mental strife, the heavy anguish of a life spent trying to keep to the flat side of the bullet, and you just can’t stomach it. You have to put the news away, whatever it says, whomever it affects, you don’t have the time or the energy to spare because suddenly the collective burdens that congeal into the puddle you call your life are all of sudden puddling right outside the door, too wide to jump anymore.
Papers to grade, stories to read, website to manage. Two weeks left to finish forty pages of the novel, two weeks left to submit to that magazine who just won’t have you and only accepts free submissions three months of the year. Writing exercise and responses to seven stories due Wednesday, lesson plans to write for this week and next, about a month to write a new story, because you will write a new story, because it’s your only chance for O'Brien to take a good look at you and you need that look to count.
You’ve been sad lately. Not for any good reason, not as though you’ve lost a pet, because you’ve shielded yourself from that inevitably well over a year ago. Giving them away like old sweaters. Someone once suspected you have seasonal affective disorder and you suppose that could be true; it’s always a season, isn’t it. The melancholy comes when it comes and it stays until it leaves and your only weapon against it is knowing of this impermanence. You can wait it out. You always do.
What truly doesn’t help is the news. Even the Jon Stewart variety contains enough truth to unsettle you, and greatly so in these times, but thank God for that man in any event. So on mornings like this when the puddle is olive-a-sudden up to the ole chinny chin, you have to pack it away. All the inescapable empathy, the catch-breath guilt of your own comparative good fortune, you can’t even check the weather because you already know it’s going to rain, somewhere, and somehow that puddle will catch all of it and there’s no time but now to build your raft.
So many dead, but with so many others preoccupied, busy as you or more, who will mourn? It’s not your concern can’t be your concern, you mourn now and all the sooner the world mourns you, bite the head off that mourning dove and spit it away, this is your life, your puddle to traverse, it’s all you’ve got so start paddling. Your day to mourn will come. But it is not this day.
(I think that’s a Lord of the Rings line, actually. But I like it.)
Goodnight, you moon. Goodnight. ~