I Like Yearning
“After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.” (Mr. Spock – “Amok Time” Star Trek)
It’s been an unusually hot summer this year. Everyone’s telling me it’s global warming. I doubt that. No, I don’t doubt global warming. But sometimes I think people like to believe that they are important enough to change the way the world spins; it makes us all feel like we have more power than we actually do. It’s probably not global warming that is bringing us such warm summer weather. I think it’s just the natural cycle of nature. In Northern Ohio, sometimes, the trees are still green and the flowers are still blooming in mid-October. Sometimes the snowflakes dance on early May days. Sometimes I can wear short-sleeve shirts outside on Christmas Day. It’s just the cycle of nature. It’s probably how it’s always been.
Even now, in the heat of this summer, my thoughts drift to the winter that lies far ahead. Or maybe not so far ahead. I think about snowflakes from winters long past – dancing in delight, in the street lamp’s light, on a cold winter night. Right now I am wishing for some of those pretty, fluffy snowflakes. I am wishing for big, white snowflakes wafting down from a gloomy sky and painting the air with their dances to come and visit me in the middle of a hot summer. But I don’t think they’re going to visit me any time soon no matter how much I wish – no matter how much I yearn.
Then, amid all this daydreaming about what I am yearning for, it suddenly occurred to me that the secret to being happy is wanting what you already have – and not wanting what you don’t have. Yet I am happy yearning – sounds strange, but it is true.
Here I am on a sunny, hot, day in July, wistfully thinking about snowflakes. Yes, it’s me again, wanting something I don’t have, and having something I don’t really want. It’s not that I don’t want the sunshine or the hot summer weather.
I like the seasons. All four of them, and I don’t like it much when one season intrudes on another. I’ve had enough summer already, and I’m wishing for autumn. You might think that I’m an unhappy, old curmudgeon. But, I’m not. I wish that I could be happy with what I have and never find myself wishing for what I don’t. But, a saint, I am not.
It’s just human nature to want what you don’t have and not be quite happy with what you do have. Maybe not you. But me? I’m always battling with stuff like this. A jumbled mind have I. But, it’s always been this way. I know it and I live with it. I actually enjoy it. So, no psychiatrists for me. I’m sure a psychiatrist would find me some-kind-of-retentive. But being an ordinary layman, I have no idea what I am retaining. I’m sure I’ve some sort of neurosis that could be cured with a pill or sessions with a therapist. But, no pills or therapists for me.
At least not yet!
I think I know that the secret to being happy. The secret to being happy is to want what you have and be satisfied with it. But not for me. I am happiest when yearning for what I don’t have. And, let me tell you, there’s something to be said for yearning. I love to long. I long to yearn. I don’t know why. Color me crazy. But happy!
Yep, I’m yearning for snow right now, on this sunny, hot, mid-summer day. I’m yearning for those crisp, frosty, autumn nights, and cool, bright, October days. Just like the ones I used to know. But maybe they are just around the bend – maybe in a couple months. Maybe not. I’m certain that nature will do what nature will do. And, despite man’s love for thinking that he can alter nature’s methods and courses with his mighty technology and careless handling of the world’s treasures, nature will will weave the cloth she chooses — and we all will have wear what she weaves.
I miss the snowflakes most of all right now. I can picture them dancing in the air outside my window. It’s a hard thing to do when it’s so hot and sunny outside. My mind does what it does best and yearns for something that it cannot have. I sort of like it this way. I doesn’t make me an unhappy person because I want things I do not or cannot have. Actually, it motivates me. Right now I want to see snowflakes falling from a soft gray early winter sky. I know when that first snow of the season comes, it will make me feel, for a moment, like the child I once was, sitting in a classroom, on a mid-October day, watching the first snowflakes of the season drifting down, and wishing with all my might that I could get up out of my seat and go outside and catch some of those snowflakes on my tongue.
See? Even way back then, I always wanted something or other that I could not have. There wasn’t much chance of the teacher, allowing me to go outside and play in those beautiful and mysterious first snowflakes of the season.
And now that gets me thinking: What about the illusive snowflakes? No two of them are exactly alike. Neither are any two days alike. And no two people are alike. No two summers are alike. No two winters are alike. Isn’t it great? What a boring world it would be if this July was exactly the same as last July. Or next summer was the same as every other summer. Or if I were like you. Or if you were like me. Or if tomorrow was an exact copy of today. I like the not knowing what lies ahead. It makes life interesting. I like yearning for what I don’t have. Wishing and hoping and yearning for things you don’t have is the stuff of dreams — and dreams are the inspirations of tomorrow. Right now I’m yearning, once again, for what I don’t have. And what I don’t have today is the sight of snowflakes falling softly down from a cold, gloomy, late-October sky.
And, I might not see any snowflakes dancing in the sky for quite awhile. It does not matter. They will come when in their own good time. Or they may not come at all. But, still, I can yearn for them.
I have a hunch that by, oh say, February, I’ll be yearning for the warmth of the hot summer sun or just the first warm day of spring. I’ll be yearning for the tulips to push up through the snow. I’ll be yearning for color to return to the dirty, gray-black and white winter landscape. And, by then, I have the feeling, I will have had all the snowflakes I care to see. Yes, I will have the snowflakes that I so long for now on this hot summer day, only I won’t want them anymore. Isn’t it great?
Wanting what you can’t have is the stuff of dreams. It inspires us. It is not logical, but it is often true.