Mourning Clouds


When I hear the mourning doves coo, I think of Sheryl. Every day she makes a point of looking for one thing that will make her happy. Sometimes she finds more than one thing. The mourning doves are an automatic. A glimpse of her husband sleeping peacefully-- no snoring-- provides delight. A few days ago her little dog did not raise his head to greet her, but wriggled his tail in the cutest way. Joy.

Several years ago, Sheryl's daughter died a careless, horrifying death. Grief does not require much to flourish. Intentionality is never required. When grief swoops down, it obliterates everything. Worse, when unbidden moments of happiness snuck up on Sheryl, it was uncomfortable for her. It felt wrong to be happy when her daughter was dead. Happiness felt like a betrayal. 

But recently, there's been a change. A change as limitless and ubiquitous as the sky. Sheryl looks up. And sometimes she takes photographs. It helps her cope and it helps her to not only accept happiness, but to actively search it out.

Angel in the Morning. Photo by Sheryl Hirsh.

Angel in the Morning. Photo by Sheryl Hirsh.

Her theory is that if everyone took the time for find one thing every day that makes them happy, the world would be a better place. I know she's right. It's called being present.

The mourning doves sing for everyone. Listen.