The other day Sean and I had a couple of errands to run. It was an ugly sort of day, a day much better suited for staying home, but we had some things that had to be done, so off we went.
As we were driving along, we made up a game to see how many words we could come up with to describe the day.
I started with the obvious, “Damp.”
“Gray,” he countered. It was true. It was a monochrome day, gray from ground to sky.
“Cold,” I added.
“Still,” he said slowly. The world did seem particularly still in spite of the traffic.
“Um, let’s see…melancholy.”
“What does melancholy mean?” he asked. I told him that melancholy is sort of like when you feel damp and gray and still on the inside.
“Oh,” he said satisfied. “My turn.”
The car fell silent as he looked out the window and searched for another word to describe the day.
“Dull,” he finally said.
“Dull indeed,” I said. Dull was the mood of the sky.
“You know because when it’s sunny, the world is shiny,” he explained. “But when it’s cloudy, the world looks a little dull.”
When I pulled up to a stop light, I turned to look at my little boy in the backseat.
He was looking out the window at the dull sky.
As we waited for the light to turn green, he pointed out a coyote slinking along the railroad tracks under the fog. He wondered out loud where the coyote lived. He spotted a shoe along side the road and wondered how it got there. He thought about the person who was missing a shoe. He pointed out the white plume of exhaust rising off a tall building and a line of black birds resting on the power lines.
This boy reminds me that from time to time, the sky may be dull, but the world around us never is.