Do you want to know what has been the most exciting thing lately? The return of cherry season. Cherries are my favorite food, and I dream about them all year long. Honestly, there are friends who have seen–with their own eyes, I tell you–me take down a whole bag of cherries in one sitting. Come May, I start watching for them, and then, one brilliant day, I see that they’re here. I squeal in the supermarket produce section. I send a text message to all of my close friends and also all of my not-close friends that reads something like, “DRUNK ON CHERRIES!!! TONIGHT!!!” And then I rationalize paying $6 per pound for cherries every time I go to the grocery store all summer because they’re my favorite food and they’re only here for a few months.
And I find the Return of Cherries remarkable every year, but this year particularly so. I think it’s because, in all honestly, life has been sort of–wait for it–mundane. I perplex myself (which I find somewhat exciting, since this is very Walt Whitman-esque). Wait, what was I saying? Oh, yes. I perplex myself (and probably a lot of other people, if we’re being genuine here, which we are), because I am a soul who cozies up to routines like a baby who keeps one chubby fist clenched around her stroked-till-he’s-half-bald stuffed bunny in the middle of the night, just to be sure it’s there, and I am a girl who looks up at a silver sky on a Tuesday afternoon and sighs because, well, the most exciting thing lately has been cherries, and that feels, like, totally lame.
Don’t get me wrong—life as a whole has been filled with all kinds of things that could be metaphorically worked through with visions of valleys and mountains, and you know that I’m also a girl who simply loves a good metaphor. But—and I hate to break this to you—a lot of that involves other people, and writing intimate things on the World Wide Web about other people is not something with which I’m comfortable quite yet. (Sorry. But yes, we are in love.) And anyway, a thick, juicy blog post about love is easy. What’s not easy is eloquently arranging words that illuminate what’s meaningful when it feels mundane.
See, I’m finding the same truth that many, many people do. The hours are long, and I imagine this to be true for most everybody at some point or another; life stretches and stretches, little increments at a time, and it feels like you’re sitting still. It seems to me that I have nothing to write about, because while I could morph that paragraph about cherries into a whole post, I’ve made a promise to both myself and you not to do such a thing. And I hear some voice somewhere murmur, “Nobody wants to read it anyway,” and so I go another day without writing, another day of both being fascinated by the mundane and being frustrated by it. I stare out the window, at a silver sky, and hope it doesn’t rain and wish the water down, all at the same time. Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself.
(I am large. I contain multitudes.)
And the truth, my friends, is that life is mundane. It’s made up of the climbs toward the sky and these plummets toward the ground, and the mundane is all those rocks and pebbles and blades of grass in between. You know, I stopped posting so many pictures of my coffee mugs to Instagram, because honestly, who wants to see another photo of that? But morning (and afternoon and evening) coffee has never stopped being remarkable to me; it has always seemed like something we were given just to make things better, if you know what I mean. And so why not? Why not share it and say, “DRUNK ON COFFEE!!!” I’m not saying we have to be inauthentic—sometimes, the days are just long, and we need to say, “Hey, that was a long day. I’m making nachos.” I’m just saying that if we don’t notice the way the sun glints off our pebbles, then we’re going to miss it, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to believe my life to be composed of the moments I stood on the summits, because those moments are far and few between. I don’t want to read those parts and wonder what happened in between and where is the story?
My point, I guess, is that sometimes it feels like I don’t have anything to say besides, “Thank you for cherries.” But sometimes, that is the best thing to say. I can write about exciting things, like being in love, sure, but the best part of that is having someone who’s going to send me a text back that says, “YES!! CHERRIES!!”
This morning, I went to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed. I had been avoiding it for some 50 days, but I was 10 days away from legitimately rebelling against the law, and while that sounds saucy, I decided to just rise and shine and take a picture in front of the blue wall. But I’d been dreading it (for 50 days), because you hear that it’s the worst thing since olives. I drove up expecting it to be terrible, expecting to have to sit for hours with a whole bunch of unhappy people. Instead, I waited for about 45 minutes and struck up conversation with the terrific girl in front of me. And when it was my turn, the woman behind the desk—who sits there all day and repeats, “OK, now initial here…”—looked up at me and smiled and people, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed that I had expected this to be the most mundane of chores, and here I was coming across these people who were willing to make it a perfectly good experience. And I want to be a girl who doesn’t miss that.
I certainly don’t have the secret of life figured out (I mean, clearly) but what I know is that life can pass you by if you don’t live it. You don’t have to always love it—some of those rocks will cut you, mind you—but by all means, notice it. Feel it on all sides. Find the things that make life better and gather them like hillside wildflowers; acknowledge the things that make life hard and don’t waste them, for pebbles in your sneakers will teach you something, even if it’s just how to take off your shoes and dump the rocks out.
My mom used to tell me the first line of her autobiography would be, “Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries.” I think mine would be, “Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries, but lots of times, it is.” If we’re being honest, it would be the first line of a whole cherry chapter.