The Clouds of Life   Leave a comment

P1130855-Edit-uploadBack in the 50s there was a gospel song that started out with the words: “Back of the clouds the sun is always shining.” I was thinking of that today as Duke and I went for our late afternoon walk in the woods. The temperature was 30 degrees lower than yesterday, the wind was blowing and it was mostly cloudy with a little sun peeking through sporadically. This after several days of warmth and sun and hope for spring. I was looking at the clouds and thinking, “Where is the sun?”

For the first 40 years of my life I lived around Lansing, Michigan in more or less the center of the state. We suffered through days, especially in winter, where we never say the sun. Blah days to say the least. Then for the next 25 years I lived just south of St. Petersburg, Florida in Bradenton where it was rare not to see the sunshine at least for part of the day.

On September 1, 1910, The Evening Independent, St. Petersburg’s first daily newspaper, initiated its famous ‘Sunshine Offer.’ Proclaiming St. Petersburg to be the ‘Sunshine City,’ Lew B Brown, editor and owner of The Evening Independent, vowed to give the paper away ‘absolutely free-without cost or condition-to subscribers and strangers alike…everyday the sun doesn’t shine on St. Petersburg.’ The offer, which remained in force until The Evening Independent merged into the St. Petersburg Times in 1986, attracted national attention, enhancing the city’s image as a popular tourist and retirement community. Over this 76-year period, the paper was given away only 296 times!

The last almost 11 years I have been back in Michigan, this time in West Michigan. I have lived in both extremes and I have to admit I like the sunshine better than the clouds. But we need the clouds.

Clouds bring both the snow and rain that we need for our world to flourish, to grow and survive. But often we lose sight of that necessity and suffer from what is now called ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder.’

I read an interesting blog post by T. Boone Pickens entitled “Career Curveballs: The Year I Was Diagnosed with Depression” In his post he tells about being depressed because he had been a winner since the start and all of a sudden things were going bad for him. He blamed the world for his troubles. He finally got medical help. “The things I felt I couldn’t change began to change. I felt better, exercised more, and was soon back to being Boone again. I began emerging from a really dark decade. Everything was starting to fall into place. I realize it’s not that easy for everybody, but I was fortunate. Looking back on my past, things began to make sense. It wasn’t the world against Boone. It was Boone against Boone.

And that is my thought: It’s often not the externals that cause the depression, it’s us and how we process the negatives. If we dwell on them they can overpower us and we lose sight of the positive. Like Pickens, we often need professional help to recover. Been there, done that. But I think there is a key that will help when we first start feeling we can’t cope with the things we don’t like….“Back of the clouds the sun is always shining!”

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Posted April 23, 2014 by hwilliam in Photography

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