Over the past several months, I've been re-posting a lot of nature and scenic photos on Facebook. A lot of them come from the Department of the Interior; others, from various photographers focused on Ohio (my home state), the Blue Ridge Mountains (North Carolina being my pretend home state), northern Florida (the other one), the National Park Service . . . you get the idea.
Sometimes friends thank me for re-posting those beautiful images. I suppose that's what it looks like I'm doing: posting pretty pictures. Or humorous or moving or unusual ones.
But what I am really doing is FIGHTING BACK.
I have no idea how one heals from the suicide of a child. But it occurred to me, last winter or so, that one possibility might be to recover some small portion of my enthusiasm for the beauty of this universe. When a child dies, so does pretty much everything else. But small glimmers of life eventually reappear here and there, and for me, they take the form and shape of nature.
Every time you see one of those posts, you are seeing me say: There is life beyond death.
Some time after I started collecting these photographs, I came across an article about Amherst College psychology professor Catherine Sanderson, who apparently does a lot of public speaking (including a famous TED Talk) on the topic of happiness. More explicitly, on what people think makes them happy and what, in contrast, actually does. Nature is high on her list of what makes us happy.
I don't know what I think about happiness, other than that it can be hard to come by. But I'm not surprised by Catherine Sanderson's conclusion about nature.
Image: from the Department of the Interior FB page ~ a RWB hitches a ride on a RTH