Blood of Sunshine

It was cloudy today.

Looking up at the sky through dirty windshield, she felt an inner sigh of disappointment. Cloudy days meant cloudy moods.

She was never sure if it was her mood reflecting the weather or if she was picking up on other people’s moods related to the weather. It was hard to tell. She spent a lot of time trying to appreciate and even romanticize the cloudy day. She pictured the water accumulating in the sky, droplets grouping in a magical dance to form the haze that from below appeared so tangible.

Impenetrable.

But still all she could feel was the heaviness of a wet blanket. No one around her seemed to make an attempt to appreciate this mysterious gray, and so it must be the drivers in the surrounding cars interfering with her mental space. She wished they could at least try to be as enlightened as she was—for everyone’s sake.

“To the sun, it’s always daytime,” she thought to herself.

Be the sun.

She envisioned the sun, hidden behind the clouds. She remembered the sunny day of yesterday, rays warming her skin with an almost tender touch. She imagined the rays of light had sunk down through her flesh and into her very veins. She imagined her blood turning brilliant gold and shining outward through her body.

What if she had blood of sunshine? What would that be like? How would that change her?

The thought was oddly energizing and she held onto it. Blood of sunshine would mean carrying the light within her to share with those in the dark and the cold. It would dry out this gray, humid day and leave trails of glowing amber in her wake. She envisioned flowers and trees sprouting up behind her as she walked, fed by the glow of her being.

She imagined passing by crowds of people, all turning to stare in silence as she entered and then exited their field of vision. Each would later question what they had seen yet remain forever changed by the encounter.

She felt the warmth of the sunshine inside her veins, flowing with loving energy.

When she arrived at work, she parked in her usual spot but walked with unusual ease. Each step was both blessing and gratitude to the earth beneath her feet and the sunshine poured outward from her heart. It poured with such radiant, invisible energy she became convinced it was real.

As she walked into her building the sunshine still followed. Making eye contact with an older gentleman, he stopped in his tracks.

“Good morning,” he said, with a strangely earnest quality.

“Good morning,” she replied, with radiant sunshine smile.

And it was.

(C) 2021 Barbara Gray – no content may be used or reproduced without permission of the author.

The Walk

I went for a walk with my son.

We were discussing the nature of happiness and the tendency for humans to dwell on the past.

“Look at the trees.” I said to my son. “How old do you think they are?”

“Very old,” my son replied.

“Think about what they’ve seen,” I said.

He was quiet for a moment, looking. Then he said, “They’ve probably seen hurricanes and tornados. Maybe even wars.”

“Yes,” I replied, “And listen to them. What do they say? Do they sit there and say ‘Oh, woe is me, what storms I’ve seen, what hurricanes. I’ve been through so much, poor me, poor me!’”

“No,” my son responded without hesitation, “They don’t. They don’t say anything at all.”

I smiled.

“We should be more like the trees.”

We continued our walk in silence.

(C) 2021 Barbara Gray – no content may be used or reproduced without permission of the author.

The Rope

When I was a kid, my sisters and I played outside with the neighbor boy nearly every day. I remember those long summer nights like they were yesterday–itchy with mosquitoes and freshly cut grass.

We mostly got along, but like all kids we fought from time to time. 

One particular fight I will never forget. We had found a long strand of rope that we used to play tug-of-war with or tie someone to a tree for a mock execution. You know. Normal kid stuff. But for some reason, the neighbor boy didn’t want to share the rope that day. 

It may have started as a legitimate game of tug-of-war, but quickly devolved into an “us against him” battle to retrieve the serpentine object. The neighbor boy had wrapped the entire rope around his arm and was hunched over it like it was a football, kneeling on the ground to keep anyone else from getting to it. 

He was bigger than us, but we were many. And so we pulled on his arms, we kicked him, we tried to poke him with sticks to get him to let go. To no avail. Our struggle continued for what felt like hours but was likely barely twenty minutes. The neighbor boy refused to give up, and so we did. 

The next day, there was a handwritten note on our front door. It was from the neighbor boy. He stated in his note that he was not happy with the way we had treated him the day before. He did not like being pulled on, or kicked or poked with sticks. 

I remember the guilt flooding my chest, as I had been the one to introduce the sticks–though in all fairness, I didn’t poke him hard. More of a jab to the ribs that was meant to trigger his reflexes and catch him off guard. But still, I realized it had hurt him. 

At the same time, I felt his feelings were unfair. He could have let go of the rope at any time. In fact, if I remembered correctly, he had taken the rope from someone else in the first place. He had set the precedent that this was the game we were going to play, and then he apparently didn’t have the hardiness of spirit to see it through. 

For many years, I judged him based on that incident. 

But as I have grown into an adult, I have watched many people endure all kinds of pain and punishment, always blaming those around them, somehow not realizing that all they have to do is let go of the rope.

Sometimes I am even surprised to find a rope in my own hands.

(C) 2021 Barbara Gray – no content may be used or reproduced without permission of the author.