I am struggling to remind myself that it is spring. I can smell it in the warm rain and hear it in the call of the robins plucking earthworms from my garden and see it in the green shoots pushing their way up out of the earth, but I am having trouble feeling it.
My husband tells me that he worries about me, and I tell him that there is a difference between the oppressive dark that settles upon one in a depression, and unhappiness, generally. I can be depressed, I tell him, and not be, strictly speaking, sad, or unhappy. I tell him that there is a difference between the dark clouds of depression, which settle upon the horizon of my psyche and linger there, casting shadows, and the rain that comes with sadness, that comes in short or long bursts, that falls lightly or heavily, that pelts my heart and dampens my spirit. And unhappiness, I say, is another thing entirely. I might be depressed, I said. I also might be sad, because the sadness – the sadness related to grief, the sadness related to dread and worry – it comes and it goes and it doesn’t announce itself. But I am not unhappy, in any meaningful sense. I don’t think. I can still smile. I still laugh. It’s just that, sometimes, I am overcome by the dark.
He is not convinced of these distinctions. He tells me to go for a walk. “Take a hike?” I joke (see? I can joke.) He doesn’t laugh. “Just, get outside, go to the cafe, do something that has nothing to do with your work or with being a mom or running errands. Just get out in the air.”
I consider the possibility. It’s raining, but rain doesn’t bother me. I grew up in the rain, without umbrellas, because you don’t need umbrellas when the rain is constant, when it is more like an ongoing drizzle, a fine mist that keeps the cherry blossoms pink. When the rain is not so much rain as it is an ever-gathering damp that makes everything smell salty and earthy and fresh.
But I have work to do, and this rain, this rain that is not a delicate mist, that does not give the cherry blossoms their fine sheen – that is, if there were cherry blossoms; there are not yet any cherry blossoms here, nor magnolias, nor forsythia and such – is a heavy rain, and I should have to put on my boots. And, I have work to do. The work of words, the work of ideas, work that, some days – like these days, when those words are applied to parsing darkness – does nothing to disperse the clouds.
Maybe I will go for that walk.