When you write something called "Momentary Joy," and you've been feeling less than joyful, well, you see my predicament.
This has been a difficult year, beginning with the death of my father in January. Last month, another close to my heart passed away: my dance teacher, who graced this earth for 99 years, teaching almost to the very end. She taught as much about life as she did about dance (and that's a piece of writing for another day).
So my heart has been heavy, and my mind a bit murky, neither of which helps words flow onto the page. But I learned long ago that grief is a maze, not a straight path, and thankfully, there is a way through.
While walking Tuesday night, I thought about that emotional maze, and the phrase "down time" floated to mind. Two possible meanings of that phrase hit me, and it seemed so fitting.
I've needed down time: in the sense of cutting back on all the things I try to do in a day, giving myself time to just "be," and in the sense of allowing myself to just feel … down.
All along, I've tried to keep my eyes open for momentary joys (even if I haven't been writing about them). I like to think of them as nudges from the universe, reminders of blessings worth counting. Let me offer two recent nudges that gave me hope.
On a drive home from work, I stopped at a red light. Up ahead, an enormous grey-black cloud loomed over a small patch of vivid blue sky. Little by little the grey smothered the blue, and before the light changed, that vibrant patch was gone. Obliterated.
I could relate.
Moments later I glanced over my left shoulder and was surprised to see a totally blue sky blooming behind me.
The grey? Nowhere in sight.
I felt the second nudge -- more of a shove, really -- on another walk. About half-way home, I was thinking about writing, not writing, and the general cloud hovering over my mood. I'd paid little attention to my surroundings until I turned a corner and … surprise! A huge swath of black-eyed Susans stretched out along the sidewalk ahead, brilliant orange, chest-high and breathtakingly beautiful. I stopped, stood, and just soaked them in. Before long, I noticed a butterfly flitting from bloom to bloom, a moth, a fly, a bumble bee burrowing in for pollen.
I'd been walking, preoccupied by my troubles, and joy awaited -- just around the corner.