Gifts Among the Dreary

I watch the news while I fold the laundry. The news is bad. And dreary, and sad, and crazy, and pessimistic, and seemingly without hope.

There really is some pretty bad stuff going on – well – everywhere.

And when you watch the news – there is a sense that it is all affecting you while at the same time, you have absolutely no control over it.  News reporting these days has a sense of making everyone helpless to do anything about it.

What good is that? I mean, our world is so big – that it almost makes watching the news irrelevant. Like – why bother knowing about this stuff if you can’t fix it. And if you can’t fix it – or even effectively react to it – what is this barrage all about?

And yet we watch. And I suppose we stay informed about what is going on in the world. And on many levels that is important.

What if we could change the news? What if we could fix it? What if we could make the news good?

I say we can. We can train our minds to stop being so negative, and hyperbolic, and so full of fear for the future that we only know how to compete and fight rather than cooperate and share.

We are not helpless.  We can change the news. By training our own mind, our own heart.


A simple beginning is to start noticing stuff. Stuff that makes you smile. Stuff that can take you out of your mind that is stuck with the gloom of the evening news.

I ran up the Green Bay Trail yesterday. Commuter train tracks on one side of the path. A strip of trees on the other. February in Chicago along the trail is brown, and dreary. No leaves on the trees, not much wildlife to speak of.

I’m always on the look-out nonetheless for birds – and about 4 miles in, finally – there they were. Way up in the oaks two nuthatch, hopping their way upside down, hammering at the bark looking for lunch. And at my feet? A cluster of red berries still hanging on to a Charlie Brownesque twiggy bush.

The pop of red, the call of the nuthatch – made me smile. Gifts among the dreary. To acknowledge these gifts in our life. Makes a difference.


4 thoughts on “Gifts Among the Dreary

  1. One of the best things Laura has ever done for me is turning me on to your blog. I especially enjoyed this one, so simple and poignant and green, I absolutely enjoy the way you write and your love of nature.


  2. As I lay here awake tonight, I wrote my brain a little note. In a nutshell, it said “You may think you’re really busy but the rest of the organs that are functioning because of you would like you to go the F*** to sleep” (that last part was in Morgan Freeman’s voice, ironically).

    I decided to check one thing, and I stumbled upon this post. This, my new friend, was my gift among the dreary. Thank you.

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