I got a big chuckle the other day at Bachman’s. Amidst the decorative garden pots, birdbaths, fountains and plethora of garden statues, a gargoyle captured my imagination. He was cranky.

He wasn’t the typical gargoyle, fierce or demonic, not a fearsome gatekeeper guarding the garden door. He just seemed cranky. “Don’t mess with me today!” cranky. Maybe two feet high, ears back, head slung forward, white knuckled, claws digging deeply into his perch, a wonderful rendering of a grumpy gargoyle.


The sheer novelty of a grumpy gargoyle was amusingly refreshing. Especially sitting there amongst cheerful garden fairies, gnomes, angels, Buddhas, butterflies, birds and cats. While I’m not sure I’d want to see him in my garden every day, I did notice my breath and belly relaxed as I gazed at this irritated creature amid  the sweet serenity of all the others.


And something else made me laugh out loud. He was me. Me, when I’m frustrated or overwhelmed. Me, when I’m ignored or discounted. Me, when I’m tired and need to leave the party. Me, in the deep dark cold of late November? Sometimes crankiness just happens.

Seeing myself in him delighted me.


I don’t get crabby as often as I used to back in the days of practicing law, mothering young children, and enduring PMS (I don’t think so anyway). Several years ago I realized that when I am crabby, it usually means that I need either to nap or to cry—usually cry. I may be angry, I may be sad, I may even be mostly peaceful, and I need to cry. It’s as though tears build up in my system over time, and like toxins need to be released for my joy and serenity to return. Some of it is personal grief, some is grief for others and for the world, and some is just physiological tension I think.

I’m not alone in this, am I?

You’ve probably heard about laughter yoga. I think perhaps we also need crying yoga. A regular practice to slow us down and coax those tears to come. And maybe crying as a group practice would help us get over our sheepishness about crying in public.

Regular gatherings for laughing and crying. I bet there would be fewer cranky people.

The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.     Isak Dinesen