Because of what’s in the news lately, I thought hard about making today’s post a copy of W. H. Auden’s very moving poem, “September 1, 1939.” I decided, instead, to simply suggest that you look it up and read it – very appropriate, I think, but heavier than I like to go here.
So, here’s my post:
Low Elation Threshold
I experienced a success last week. One of our toilets was plugged, probably a consequence of my not drinking enough water, and I worked feverishly with a plunger before giving up. I went to the internet and found a number of strategies to help me avoid calling a plumber (and who knows when he would show up, or even answer the phone). While I was doing the research, Kim poured some vinegar into the toilet and told me to let it sit for an hour or so. I did what I was told, and lo and behold, it worked! It’s hard to describe the elation I experienced watching stuff surge down the drain. I have a low threshold of elation. This comes in handy after reading the news.
One of the things I love about Kim is that she is capable of a low elation threshold. If she finds a really cool mushroom, or sees early morning hoarfrost, she’s there. Her photos, which I have shared in this blog, illustrate this elation. For some reason she finds butterfly photography more exciting than watching shit go down a drain.
I’ve found it makes sense to seek these small moments of elation rather than waiting for, say, peace in the Middle East or success in fighting global warming. Hey – I get excited when my car starts – for an English major, that’s a minor miracle. Or when our toaster delivers two perfect golden-brown pieces of toast. And sometimes I am elated when, late at night, my head settles onto our pillow. Or when I get the “Guide” function on our television to work, an elation I am, at this point, looking forward to.
We moved into the Bark House on November 1, 2018. We had fantasized enjoying a glass of wine on our 4-season “porch” as we watched the snow fall, with perhaps a deer checking out the newcomers. Well, that’s exactly what happened. And it has happened every November 1 since then. When it happened this week (minus the deer), it was utterly beautiful – a cause of elation, once again. Elated by snow in Northern Michigan? That’s our low elation threshold. Of course, the champagne helped.
And sometimes I am elated when I find that something I am reading – or writing – is, in fact, shorter than I thought it would be, so I can go about the rest of my life.