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In which I seek moments of joy
Life can be lonely, frustrating, and sad. Our curation of ourselves for public view —maybe even for private view — doesn’t usually showcase those aspects of our experience. But there they are.
And though we are slow to show them, the disappointments, flaws, and struggles are where we tend to identify with one another. Stories show characters in crisis; as we read or watch, we want to know how they navigate the situation. We see ourselves in their shoes and want to know how they survived. We don’t just want to know. We need to know. Maybe their solutions will help us solve our own problems.
To counter the sinking feeling the struggles, internal and external, in my life often leave me with, I’ve made it a habit over the years to look for wonder every day. It’s out there. I’m grateful to say it is always out there.
A few of my moments of wonder since last I wrote:
I saw my first butterfly of spring a week or so ago. It fluttered by low to the ground as I walked in the woods near our house, then landed on a stalk of long grass. I stopped short and looked hard, feeling thrilled. Back in the house, I found on the Internet that it was a Red Admiral. They’re common, they’re friendly, and they used to be called Red Admirables. That was enough for me to know. I closed the laptop and sat feeling pleased. Every time I think of it since I feel pleased. And that seems like found treasure.
I watched a Kingfisher fishing near shore on Muskallonge Lake the other day. It landed on the water with a belly-flop-like thwap that made me think it was out of practice, an idea that made me grin, and, yep, still makes me grin.
During an interminable visit to Menard’s yesterday, the sales clerk I hunted down in the hardware section went out of his way to help us find the parts we needed for an oddball project. He had a fringe of white hair, a rueful smile, and a twinkle in his eyes. He pretended to duck and run as we and he simultaneously approached his help desk. “Don’t you run away from me!” I called, smiling. He didn't. He traversed the store with us for over half an hour. According to my step counter, we went a mile together. No question was too tedious or time-consuming, and no potential pitfall was too much to consider. I appreciated everything about hanging out with him: his good humor, his patience, his ideas, his approach to his work, and just… his way of being. His way of being human. I didn’t learn his name, but here’s a thank you to him.
There are more, but I’ll close with that. I hope you have all been well, dear readers. What are some of your moments of wonder, ordinary or otherwise?