Today as I was purging my racing thoughts into my journal, it occurred to me, not for the first time, just how weary I was feeling with the world. As I wrote, I began to wonder if that feeling of exhaustion that isn’t related to physical tiredness is perhaps a reaction to the trauma we have all been living through the past several years.
I think that one thing the pandemic has allowed us is the time to sit with and recognize just how awful things have become. We all saw it as it was happening, but we had errands and jobs and kids and little things to distract us from really having a good look at where we are. Now our distractions are gone, and news and social media can only show us a scorched landscape or a rickety facade of perfection and happiness that appears more and more like the cardboard clown mask it is in reality.
I find myself seeking refuge in nostalgia, old movies, favourite television shows, books, anything that can transport me away from the here and now. In that transportation, I wonder if people living in the wake of other global traumas felt the same. When the world emerged from the double traumas of WWI and the Spanish flu pandemic, were they as tired? When the world was crawling out from under the rubble of WWII, were people as weary?
I wonder if people from those times, in reaction to global events, turned away from politics and the ‘us vs them’ and sought out smaller lives. Lives where the news stayed in the paper, and people woke up in a quiet world, living moments that only existed within the immediate senses of the body — sunshine, birdsong, cool morning breezes, a cup of coffee, and a book, or their own thoughts.
Those moments in the morning are my favourite in life. When the world is quiet, and I can imagine that everyone is sleeping. There is no hum or chatter from electronic devices, there is no bad news waiting, there is only the morning and the light and warmth of the spring sunshine.
This is the time when I feel I can escape. The garden is waiting for me to begin the work of the season. Stories exist only on the pages of my latest novel, and in the wilds of my imagination. I seem to remember this practise falling under the label of mindfulness, among other things. Whatever the name, I know that when I can let everything else go, even for a little while, I feel hopeful and happy.
Tiny moments, where there is nothing else but now. I think we could all use more of these. I find they are hard to remember once they are gone and the weight of the world returns to our shoulders. While I am tempted to document them, and create a lovely cultivated hashtag, I think that in seeking out the tiny moments of others, we could easily forget to embrace our own. So instead, I will wish you all luck and happiness in finding your own tiny moments — as many as you need, and as often as you can.