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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bow in Sunshine and in Rain

So what was Bow doing yesterday, while I was having all those encounters with rabbits and a turtle? In the early morning, after breakfast, he was sleepy.

Later, there was a period of sunshine, and Bow took advantage of this time to enjoy the outer pen.

 While there was sunshine he was happy. He lounged about and made happy faces.

There had been rain the night before, so the bench was not entirely dry, but Bow enjoyed perching on the edge and soaking in the sunshine.

Eventually he assumed his favorite position, lying on the top rim of the bench.

And there he stayed for a good long time, being perfectly content and happy and at peace.

And then, in due course, the weather changed. It started raining, softly at first and then in torrents. Bow asked to go back inside. And there in the dimness of the inner pen during a storm when the clouds seem to put out the sun, Bow was not-so-happy.

Now, I bet you that some people, seeing this video of Bow being not-so-happy will try to post some sort of comment like "He needs to be free. Get him out of that cage. Let him roam free." But Bow is not unhappy because he's in a cage. He's unhappy because it is raining.

I have seen footage of chimpanzees in the wild, sitting out in the rain, getting soaked and looking miserable. Sometimes they display against the rain, and observers call it a rain dance. But their mood and behavior is very much tied to the natural world, and they get sad or depressed or upset by things they don't like and which are outside their control. Not unlike us.

I think that's perfectly healthy. I worry about people who always act happy, no matter what is going on. They can't really be happy all the time, and putting on the fake act or brainwashing themselves into accepting the things they can't change must be eating at the lining of their stomach. We have feelings for a reason. Going against our natural feelings can't be good.

Today I saw one of those be-happy memes. It said: "Happiness is not about always getting what you want. It is about being grateful for what you have." Nonsense! Happiness is about being able to act freely to express your true feelings regardless of how it looks to anyone else.

Sometimes we get what we want. Sometimes we don't. When we are free and unburdened by other people's expectations, we act happy when we get what we want and sad when we don't. And life goes on! Very soon a happy moment can emerge from a sad one, as the sun comes out from behind that cloud. But how would you even recognize it, if you were drugging yourself not to notice the world around you?

If you think these ideas make sense, then you might be interested in my old novel, Vacuum County.


  1. Bow is probably more in tune with his feelings than some people.

    1. Yes, Julia, I think he is much more in tune with his feelings than most of us.