I Don’t Always Cry…


…but when I do, it’s because I am out on a walk and the sun is setting on a cool fall evening and I am listening to David Gray and am overwhelmed by the beauty of the golden light caught in the tops of the trees, and the sadness hanging in the dry air, and the love of the father holding his son’s hand as they cross the street, and the calm of the lone pink rose on a bush on someone’s lawn, and the grace of the setting sun disappearing behind the houses.


Sometimes I don’t know what else to do with myself besides go for a walk. When my heart gets so full and heavy that it feels like it might burst and nothing makes sense but at the same time everything becomes so simple.

Is it weird that I am sharing a picture of myself crying? Probably. But unfortunately my writing isn’t good enough to capture all that emotion and so we return to the old adage: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” (A picture might be worth 2,000 words if you’re a bad writer, and only 500 if you’re a good one. That would be a funny metric by which to judge authors: how many of their words is a picture worth?)




I came home and ate pumpkin curry and rice and finished reading Louise Edrich’s The Night Watchman while Thomas watched Sunday Night Football.

“The sun was low in the sky, casting slant regal light. As they plodded along, the golden radiance intensified until it seemed to emanate from every feature of the land. Trees, brush, snow, hills. She couldn’t stop looking. The road led past frozen sloughs that bristled with scorched reeds. Clutches of red willow burned. The fans and whips of branches glowed, alive. Winter clouds formed patterns against the fierce gray sky. Scales, looped ropes, the bones of fish. The world was tender with significance.”

Louise Edrich, The Night Watchman

I swear…this has happened multiple times now…I’ll be reading something that reflects almost exactly a thought or feeling I recently had. The above passage from The Night Watchman, for example, is a beautiful depiction of the way I felt earlier this evening. I am also confronted with the difference in ability between myself and a professional author because, in an ideal world, I would have crafted the sentence “The world was tender with significance” to describe my evening walk, but instead I shared a stupid meme and a picture of myself crying. Nice!

Anyway. I’m sure many similar sentiments have been described, but I’m reminded of a quote from author and philosopher Alain de Botton: “Most of what makes a book ‘good’ is that we are reading it at the right moment for us.” I think it goes both ways, though: we can enjoy a book because we are reading it “at the right moment,” but also we can create new significance or meaning from a book that might not have seemed relevant at the outset. Does that make any sense?

It’s getting late; I will post this tomorrow morning after a cup of coffee and a good laugh at my sorry attempts at philosophizing.

Some Things I Thought While Watching the Sun Set This Evening

Feel free to call me out as hypocrite here; I know I’m usually the person running and riding and squashing around like crazy. But today, the only exercise I got was walking two blocks from my front door to watch the sunset (OK, fine, also to pick up dinner at the Whole Foods hot bar because I’m a lazy and impatient piece of garbage who didn’t want to wait for pasta water to boil). And as I watched the exceptionally beautiful sunset (again, probably played a role in my current sentiments) I thought to myself, “I don’t need any more from ‘exercise’ than this.”

By which I mean that even though I have spent the majority of my life playing sports or being active, there’s only so much the intense physical activity is necessary for my happiness. I run and ride and hike because for me, to be outdoors is to be happy, no matter what it is I’m doing. To be able to sit outside and watch the sunset, or to spot the new flower blooming in front of my neighbor’s house, or to smell the ocean or the eucalyptus trees when they’re nearby; that is happiness.

And the feeling of my legs underneath me and my breath colder against the becoming-crisper October air; that is happiness.

And to notice: the smallest corners of the earth, my breath, the simultaneous silence of a sunset and the background cries of a bird or a child; that is happiness.

When I heal I will return to my sports and my jogs, I can’t pretend I won’t. There’s something about my heart beating hard in my chest and the burning of my quads that gives me an endorphin rush. But after not having any of that for the past six weeks – and believe me, I never thought I’d say this – I genuinely think I’d be ok without it. As long as I have this sacred earth’s nature, and the ability to notice and feel even the smallest moments of beauty and awe within it, I think I might just be alright.

(P.S. I wrote this stream-of-consciousness while sitting outside, in the dark, on the sidewalk outside Whole Foods. When I say that these are my unfiltered thoughts, know it’s no exaggeration.)