I consider myself in good company. Wilson Bentley, better known as “Snowflake” Bentley , a farmer from New England and an exuberant lover of snow. At age 19 he used a camera and a microscope to study the multiple differences in snowflakes. He believed every crystal to be a natural masterpiece with purpose and reason. Every snowflake he recorded had a number and description. Some he gave names and personal notes with such detail that one could almost see the shards of each unique point. His scientific journals were filled with such characterizations as, “beautiful, spectacular, wonderfully brilliant, masterpieces of crystal architecture”. Born in the 1800’s Snowflake Bentley was not of the (norm). He was rather eccentric one might say. But it was his extreme exuberance that discovered the fact that no two snowflakes are alike. He was also accredited for other weather related scientific studies. He was a passionate man and lived and studied while existing in an unpredictable mind of mania and depression.
Theodore Roosevelt was a man whom I would have liked to have known. A person of extremes and a very vivacious personality. There is no time here for a history lesson so let me just add a quote by a reporter from The New York Times, “The President speaks with great animation, gesturing freely and in fact talking with his whole being, mouth, eyes, forehead, cheeks, and neck all taking their mobile parts…a hundred times a day the President will laugh…it is usually a roar of laughter and comes every five minutes or so. You go into Roosevelt’s presence… and you go home and wring the personality out of your clothes”. He was also know as a man who felt pain and loss almost to the point of death itself. He spoke of going completely mad with grief over the loss of his father. Shortly after on February 14, 1884 both is mother and his wife died. He was quoted as saying, ” The light has gone out of my life.” When he felt something he felt it to the utmost of his being. When he spoke he did so with determination and confidence. When he acted upon a notion he did it with passion. Even in his sorrow he was exuberant, not with positive enthusiasm but with purpose of wholehearted loss and excruciating pain.
There is no historical or scientific proof of either of these men having a bipolar diagnosis. Although I look at their lives, their accomplishments and passions as well as the extreme exuberance in which they lived their lives. Wow. I see nature all around me and know that only an exuberant God could have possibly created everything. I listen to music and must come to the conclusion that Beethoven was indeed exuberant. Many too many examples to even begin to mention. Exuberance can be found in paintings, skyscrapers, quilts, poetry, sculptures, essays, the solar system, Broadway, hymnals, the face of a child as well as the worn hands of a laborer. Exuberance is all around us and in us if we would just be brave enough to express it. Fear of being who we truly are can be of a great loss to mankind and the world as a whole. Who knows, maybe your hidden exuberance has the next flight to the moon locked inside. Perhaps my exuberance will be expressed in the encouragement to a young writer that will pen a moving ballad.
I’m not afraid to dance with freedom in a warm summer puddle from an exuberant recent thunderstorm. I will splash. I will lay in the cool grass at 2 o’clock in the morning and stare at the sky as it displays an exuberant blanket of stars. I will shout with exuberance and sing a silly old song when the perfect Christmas tree has finally been decided upon. I will exuberantly ring my bell at every finish line.
I will fervently fight against the despair and depression that waits for me in the dark places by drawing upon the exuberant spirit that is within me that proves to me that there is another side. I have hope. Bipolar is never sedentary .
People who have been kissed with an exuberant spark in their souls are not always easily accepted. When you look , look with eyes that are open to differences that can be embraced.
Never underestimate the power of Exuberance