Sunday, March 15, 2009
A Short List of Happy Things
Sunrises. I often wake before dawn. In those first quiet moments, as the dark fades slowly from the sky to reveal the familiar in a different light, I understand why we call it a new day. No two sunrises are the same, and everything looks slightly different than it did the day before. Watching the sun come up reminds me of the dual nature of life, its constancy and its change, and stirs in me a deep wonder.
Firsts. The first of anything is an occasion–first step, first tooth, first kiss, first time you drive the car alone, that first sip of coffee in the morning or of tea late in the afternoon, winter’s first snowflake, and likewise, the first shoots of green that brave our New England spring. When my days become mundane, I look for something I haven’t done yet, or some new way of doing a thing that’s become stale, so that there’s always a new first to look forward to.
Senses. I am often stopped in my tracks by the emotions certain sounds or scents evoke. Music pulls me out of myself, an unexpected bit of birdsong on a winter day can change my mood, the sound of laughter always lifts my spirits. I remember my delight as a child, coming home after church on a Sunday morning to the scent of roasting meat and fruit pie. Nothing makes me quite as happy as the smell of fresh earth when the snow melts in April or quite as melancholy as the scent of dying leaves in the fall.
Colors. Even when winter trees are leafless and all the ground is covered with snow, nature makes small places for my eyes to feast. The evergreens stand out greeny-black against the white, every shade of brown and gray shows off its luster where the snow has melted and the leaf matter is exposed, dawns and sunsets paint the sky in shades of crimson and purple. Cardinals and jays look like winged jewels in flight. And when that snow disappears? Oh, glorious green!
The unexpected. Sunshine when the weatherperson predicted rain, a card in the mail saying “thanks for being you,” a message on the answering machine that says, “Memere, I love you as much as the whole world!” all fill me up until I spill over.
No doubt there will be more major events in my life, but it’s the small things, the everyday, every-moment times that fill my life with awe and wonder.