It’s only natural to feel blue, surrounded by people and still alone, showing your smile, but hiding woe, life seeming steady, and yet the ups and downs unsettle you. Everyone has felt this, at some point. It doesn’t mean endless suffering is yours, but only a spell, a dark cloud passing over, tears from the sky in an isolated shower. It’s a phase, it’s a thought, it’s a criticism, a row, an illness, a life not really lived. It can be a forest full of niggles, a stem full of memories, regret, damnation. Any of those things. It stands to reason, so many, as people are made up of many different things. The traits are endless. Shy, retiring, bold, assertive, intelligent, artistic, spurious, curious, furious. Yeah, I know, furious is an emotion more than a trait, but you do get people who are permanently furious. Does that not then become a trait?
And of course, the spurious, well is that a trait, or is that something one becomes by will, for a variety of reasons. You have the ones that fake their profile picture, for vanity, the ones who fake a passport, an identity, the ones who send out scams to the world, out of greed, and power, the ones who fake orgasm, laughter, coughing, the ones who once put fake coins into parking meters, (impossible now), the ones who wear fake designer, jewellery, the ones who fake their death, their life, the fake smile, the fake friendship, fake love.
I’m not sure you can fake love, like you can’t fake dislike, hate, but then one of my traits is acceptance. Another is obsessive. Being obsessive can sometimes make one blue. At those times of blue, of grey, the dark reeds, when one appears scared of death and yet calls on it from their loneliness, life can seem impossibly hard. Throw it off, take off. Retract, pound the ground around, and find somewhere to reflect, to gain back equilibrium. Scan the clouds sailing past, and forget the world beneath.
I once felt detached from my home town. I worked out of town and I socialised out of town, could be blue out of town too. I spent more of my life out of my town than in it. Things changed. Early retirement was my decision. I’d have more time to help my ageing mum, to mind my grandsons, and I could become a writer. I did the ones closest to my level of attainment, and attempted to better myself in the other. I enrolled in a Creative Writing Course, out of town. I retained my link and my affection for the city. Then two years later the pandemic hit us. Grief struck with stiff unrelenting fingers. I felt a sense of loneliness, like an island battered by stormy seas, worry, anxiousness, unhappiness a little more than blue.
The one thing I could do during those times was walk, and I trudged around my town. No more clippity clop, it was now thud, thud thud, this way and that way, up hills, down hills, through trees, by ponds, by burns, by fields homing horses. Ear bonnet wearing horses. I smiled at the passer-by, often the fake one, smile that is, not the passer-by, spoke with the cows, and the sheep, no need for falsity here, and I tuned in my ears to the birds.
Things are returning to how they were, but we’re not totally back to how we were. Life goes in circles. For example, the land I’d walked before the pandemic is different to the land after it. Not so you would really notice, but if you look closely, you can see it. There’s an isolated section, raised land, from the burn upwards, a pathway winding around it. Here I noticed tiny conifers had taken root. The smallest, most delicate of little trees. Now, two years later they’re bigger still, become sturdier. There are so many of them, I’m not sure they’re all going to fit when they turn into adult trees. The land here has changed. Slightly for now, but in a few years-time the thicket will be thicker, darker. You won’t see the trees for the forest.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that our lives, like the lay of the land, will change from time to time, bringing green, rust, and blue. There is nothing fake about nature, about the trees. They, like us can have broken roots. The trick is not to topple.