Sometimes it’s a hard world. It’s a world where the blood of children stains the sidewalk and a fireball turns a nursing home into splinters and pain. Whether it’s deliberate bombings or terrible accidents or natural disasters, it’s too much to take in sometimes. There comes a moment when you have to turn it all off and seek some small consolations–not because the awful things didn’t matter, but because they mattered too much. Awful–a very old word derived from when we were full of awe at the great and terrible. Now it just signals terrible, and there is a peculiar horror to the fact that this word and all it entails are commonplace now.
There are plenty of people writing poignant and thoughtful tributes, issuing advice and suggesting coping strategies. They quote Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and they remind us that we are essentially good and that we will go on. These are good things to remember.
But besides the lofty and the philosophical, we also need the sweetly small–little pleasures that divert us for just a moment from all that is dire and dark. We need raindrops on roses and whiskers on lolcats and ERMAHGERD girls and otters that look like Benedict Cumberbatch. We need the smiles of strangers and the gentleness of friends. We need the adventures of PLUMDOG and a tiara a day. We need cups of tea and disapproving rabbits and cats who look like pinup girls. Oh, and we need IF poems! And the Scarlet Pimpernel and Superman and art and Joshua Bell playing “Ave Maria”. We need Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and we need a piemaker who can raise the dead. We need Panda Cam and we need to be kind–to ourselves and others.