How strange that on St. Patrick’s day the Higher Power has turned the lights way up like a barkeep at closing time. The annual inebriation celebration seems more suited to the sort of overcast day that makes a crummy dive seem cozy and a whiskey or two terminally tempting.
Today the St. Paddy’s pub crawlers will have to accessorize with green sunglasses and wide-brimmed leprechaun hats. The light at mid afternoon is as bright as a new mirror and the world a blinding mosaic of chartreuse and gold: daffodils, forsythia, tender shoots, budding vines. All of nature’s lines are sharp, as if drawn by a steady, sober hand. There is no where to hide in this radiant happy world.
I am grateful that on this first day of real spring weather I do not wish to duck out of the sun because I am feeling hungover, lonely, homely, hefty or sad. Nor am I longing to join the Celtic revelry and drink until I am too amorous, too honest, too stupid for words, too loud and off key, too crazy, and too sick for living. I am astounded by how relieved I feel to spend this holiday drowning in greenery and not tinted Guinness. For the first time in a long time I am not planning to celebrate my part-Irish heritage in a foggy funk.
Slowly, I am waking up to the fact that being sober is compatible with pretty much everything I used to associate with drinking: celebration, sadness, friendship, love, excitement, fear, despair, youth, aging–all the changing seasons of nature and the heart.
Sunlight and sobriety. Things are starting to make sense.