This week as the weather turns cold here in the Southern Hemisphere I was thinking about those feelings of melancholy that can arise as the days shorten and the wind is icy, or maybe just when we are tired and weary. These observations for me are often not deep grief but small sadnesses that are often tinged with sweetness about the fragility and beauty of life.
Here are some that I thought of:
Walking home in shoes that pinch
Watching grey lipped people caught in t-shirts by the first winds of Autumn
Saying goodbye to a small child whose face can’t believe you would go right now in the middle of fun
Someone coming a long way and preparing for the journey only to not get what they came for
Wishing someone would do something different and knowing they won’t
The smell of a dinner coming from another house when you have nothing planned
Going to take the last sip of your coffee only to realise you already have
Trying to save a spider only to realise you’ve already wet them with soapy water beyond repair
Noticing your teeth have gone yellow
One lone white eyebrow hair sitting amongst the many
The faded poster for a lost cat
A chain store moving into your row of village shops
The basket of odd socks that you can’t quite bear to tackle
A lost button
Messages stuck on a phone with no password to listen to them
No, I couldn’t think of 100. I only got to 15. Are there any tiny sadnesses you would add?
Today I honour fleeting sadness and melancholy as a part of life – feelings that are with us sometimes, and that we hopefully move through easily and gently if we do not fear them, and notice when they arise. Observing our feelings and thoughts, exploring them, expressing them in therapy or through art is a helpful way to make sense of our world.
Poignant observations about the changing seasons have been part of storytelling and poetry for a long long time. You may be in a different season today – but what do you notice that speaks to you of that season, and evokes some emotion? Try a list of your own… 100 tiny summer joys? 100 churning Autumn changes? 100 hopeful emergences in Spring?
If things feel sad, hopeless or flat most days and have felt that way for two weeks or more, you may be suffering from depression. Here is more information From Black Dog Institute on when to seek help and also where to seek help.