February 6, 2021

Making A Change On a Dark Dreary Day

Rarely do I post something written by someone else. But, today I am making an exception.

Eugenia Zuckerman was the arts correspondent on the TV show, Sunday Mornings with Jane Pauley, for the past 25 years. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Instead of bemoaning her fate, she is using her time to inspire and motivate anyone affected by this disease. She has written a book about her experiences and shares other written material.

One such piece is the poem I've reproduced here. It fits perfectly with a recent post of mine about hope, and my overall message of staying involved and active during retirement.

I hope you enjoy what Eugenia has written.


By Eugenia Zukerman

Even though the difficult year of 2020 has finally passed, we are all now faced with the reality that not everything is going to magically get better overnight, with the shout of one Happy New Year. After the tumultuous transition of power in Washington, to the continued news about COVID cases climbing, worrying if we will be able to get our turn for a vaccine added onto the looming gray of winter, things can feel, well, bleak. 

But, even with all the difficulties, I strongly feel that staying positive is a choice we can make -- or at least fight hard for -- no matter what comes our way. Through my own battle with Alzheimer’s, I have learned that yes, some days are harder than others, but it is important we keep focusing on the goodness of life, as best we can.

Writing poetry during my diagnosis at the pandemic has brought me so much joy.  Here is one that I wrote on the morning of a particularly dark morning, that I hope will inspire others to keep staying positive and looking for the light, even when things feel dark.


              You have a choice say I to me

           as I roll out of bed cranky as can be

   you can hunker down and refuse to smile

           sit up in bed  -  stare at the radio dial

      or flop back on a pillow, lie there and pout

    bite your nails – enjoy some deep existential doubt

But turned on my side I try a little test ----

                   just out the window

             I see a bluebird’s making his nest

his twitter and tweets are charming, in fact the very best

Soon I’m happily humming along with his simple tune

                     and it goes like this –

If the weather’s dreary  and you’re feeling down and dark

   talk to the bluebird!  Change your dark and dreary to

                        light and lively --- that’s the trick!

Whatever 2021 has for us, I will continue to create art, take walks in nature, and work to stay positive. Life is precious, even during hard days, and we can all keep looking ahead for the light that is sure to come. 

I am glad this poem was given to me for use on Satisfying Retirement. If you'd like to learn more about Eugenia and her Alzheimer's experiences, here is a link to her book: Like Falling Through a Cloud.


  1. Attitude is everything when facing changes, facing the unknowable future. Thanks for the link to Eugenia's book. We all (or at least I) need reminders from time to time to enjoy the small details of our lives before they're gone, the birds that break up the silence of the mornings. The choices we still are lucky enough to make.

    1. The fear involved after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's is very real and can be very destructive. Eugenia's story is a reminder of the power of attitude and facing whatever the world throws at us.

  2. Good post Bob. It's so easy to fall into the habit of blaming negative circumstances or blaming someone else for our unhappiness, when in reality our contentment and happiness is directly linked to our attitude and our ability to adapt.

    On a separate note, I want you to know that reading about your art adventures inspired me to pick up the brush again and paint after a 20 year hiatus. I was a "beginner" 20 years ago and a beginner now, trying to learn all over again, not to mention the investment of brushes, medium, oil paint, etc...and finding space to pursue this new/old hobby in a small retirement home. I'm frustrated, at times quite discouraged, but, I'm determined to make this work.

    1. Retired or not, adaptability is a key to a happy life. I venture to guess that the most rigid people have the hardest time.

      Welcome to the beginner's club (again) of painting! I am glad what I wrote inspired you to plunge back into it. I have been at it nearly a year and have hit a valley. The stuff I did 6 months ago is better than what I am producing right now. I hope that is normal. I do enjoy everything about it all, but wanted to see forward progress.

      I am about to transition from wet-on-wet oils to acrylics just to try a different medium.

  3. Hi Bob! I tend to believe that poetry can say things in a way that our brains and hearts hear in a different way. This is such a nice and hopeful poem...and yes, I completely embrace the sentiment! ~Kathy

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I figured it would resonate with you.