And it’s a hard road

I got up early today. I had gone to bed sad, and I didn’t want to wake up that way. Happily, something happened that reset my mood.

I had been feeling discouraged about humanity as a whole, and we made the poor choice of Tales From The Loop as a distraction.

It’s a show that is a nod to The Twilight Zone and One Step Beyond – stories about people in weird situations. Like them, it’s almost unrelentingly sad. So yes, it was a bad choice. It was the big season finale, directed by Jodie Foster. I didn’t like how it ended. But the points it was making about time felt true. If I’d felt differently, it might have been poignant. Instead it was just plain sad.

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There are a lot of sad stories out there now. I don’t understand why humans choose entertainment that is sad, too. Are we looking for confirmation of our own anxiety and depression?

Some people are fascinated by aberrant behavior, from the psychologically interesting questions posed by the anti-hero of Better Call Saul to the basic badness and greed in Ozark – a show my partner watches, but I cannot. Too much for me.

Does such over the top behavior makes us feel sane by comparison? Does a sad show make our more ordinary sadness feel less heavy in comparison? Is humanity too jaded to enjoy Gene Kelly tap dancing in a downpour now?

I’ve been called Pollyanna, the girl who sees something good in everything and everyone. But I’ve learned, as we all eventually must, that it’s not that simple. Life’s lessons are painful. Time means nothing stays the same. And things change. Change isn’t intrinsically bad or good, but it isn’t always pain-free.

I usually picture life like a road, mostly beautiful, with scattered sections, unpaved and difficult, that need to be travelled to reach the beauty again. In the world of The Loop, it’s all rough going, and everyone looks like they’re only surviving through grim determination.

It felt too familiar last night.

But this morning was different. I don’t usually get up before seven. And that means I miss the sunrise. I know that the sun lights the tops of the hills here at seven with a golden light that changes into something more ordinary within an hour or so. But today I was up at six. And I saw how it begins.

There are hills to the east of us, and the sun peeked over the tops of those hills at around 6:15. I was outside with the dog, and I saw the tops of the hills to the northwest begin to glow. I turned around, and the sun was pulling itself above those other hills, reaching toward the far ones, lighting them more and more. The golden light spilled down the hills like honey, spreading until it reached the hollow where the cow farm is, where the cows are probably already scattering across the meadow spreading into the valley beyond.

I saw something new today. Something beautiful. I felt lucky to be alive.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.