Not-So-Happy Hour

Today a well-meaning friend delivered news so heinous that I would have taken to my bed, had I not already been lying there,
avoiding the day.
“Popular Beer and Wine Brands Contaminated
with Monsanto’s Weedkiller, Tests Reveal”
blasted the Alternet headline. Curling to the fetal position, I thought long and hard before clicking the link, recognizing the hazards of reading such awful news so early in the day. I had already been doubting whether I possessed the intestinal fortitude to face another episode of the Daily Deluge of bad news for Earth.
     Only the realization that today is Friday—just nine hours, 47 minutes until happy hour—buoyed me to the point of contemplating a move to verticality. Then I succumbed to that winking blue light on my phone, that “let me just see what this is about first” temptation, and . . . groan. How will I continue to cope without my medicinal doses of Chardonnay?
     I scan the article, hoping against hope to discover that this is just another hoax, truly “fake news.” I find none. The article cites not one, but three legitimate-sounding studies in which wines and beers (including a few organics) tested positive for glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide). It’s sprayed in non-organic vineyards to and on grain crops, the article says, to kill weeds, and also as a “pre-harvest drying agent.”
     Though Monsanto and the US EPA say Roundup is safe (in “small doses,” whatever those are), other studies have shown it to be neurotoxic, carcinogenic, endoncrine disruptor and a cause of liver disease. Tempted as I was to drill down into these studies, seeking any kind of loophole or exception that would excuse my personal consumption, I forced myself to turn off the phone screen instead.
     Happy hour was not nearly so appealing. Spending the day in a fetal position was.
     If only there was a DELETE button on my memory banks. I tapped my forehead in a desperate effort to locate one that I might have missed. I found nothing but an imprint of the cat’s claw, the one who taps me every morning when SHE thinks it’s time for me to get up. Grrr, another memory I’d like to DEL.
     Thankfully, my new gratitude app chimed in before I could fling my Bad News Delivery Device, aka mobile phone, across the room.
     “Take a moment to appreciate today,” it reminded me.
     With a groan, I unclenched my mental grip on outrage, and forced myself back into the present moment.
     Birds chirped outside the open window with such exuberance, I could hardly believe I’d missed their cheerful comment on this sun-drenched morning. I sat up to get a better listen, as I thanked them for their music. I noticed the empty side of the bed, abandoned by my hard-working husband hours ago, and I whispered a prayer of gratitude for his love and support. Then the thought of morning coffee called.
     Before I knew what happened, I was dressed and chatting with my two children in the car, grateful for their well-being, on the way to their school, thankful for the caring teachers who instruct them.
     This is where the real therapy happens. Being present in these precious moments, giving gratitude for each one. My mornings with my kids are numbered, as our recent tour of colleges reminded me. I have no idea what kind of therapy this mama bird will need when she come home to find an empty nest. But I’m not going to let that worry spoil this precious moment of being here, just being, here, right now. This coffee is Hoover dam good.

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  © Cheryl Leutjen