Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sunny Susans 
Truth be told, I've been avoiding writing.
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.
Message received.
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.
Message received.