Random Joy

As the last of summer disappears from sight and we advance into a new month sans a holiday, I, like many of us, am faced with finding joy in the small moments tucked between the hustle and bustle ofΒ  life. Listening to a colleague’s funny story. Watching the light reflect off a dark cloud. Setting a vase of fresh cut flowers on the table. Fleeting and random but joyous. If we look around. If we’re here now.

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Lately I have gotten in the habit of capturing such random moments with a photo. Capturing causes me to stop and notice. Perhaps even get out of my car to walk across the dirt road as I did to film the wind whipping between the outer corn stalks. I was tearing home after work but not really present when the waving tassels brought me to pull over. For a long minute I just watched the expansive field lean one way then the other. See the sky as a perfect blue. The clouds pass by with a nonchalant grace. Thankful I stopped. Noticed. Took a breath.

Yesterday, once again whizzing along, this time on the bike path but barely glancing into the world on either side of me, odd structures in the riverbed did catch my eye. Cairns. Dozens. Clustered or singular. Some made with the smallest of stones and others that looked like they would withstand a steady current. I hopped off my bike, took off my sneakers, rolled up my pants and walked into the shallow river. The cool rushing water, distilled afternoon light, birds disturbed about my presence, all brought me into the present. I squat down in the midst and waited for my shot. My random joy.

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Mid-week guests caused us to made a dinner date on the lake. The sky was a busy one, with dark clouds swiftly coursing on the horizon. We didn’t know if our outdoor meal would prove possible or not, but we chanced it and were rewarded with artwork: sky and water colliding in pastels. Sunsets are impossible to ignore but are fleeting, as are the seconds ticking into minutes that fill our hours. The color came and went all in a flash but long enough for all of us to turn our attention outward. Beyond our small selves into something far more powerful. The whole of the earth moving along. Rippling.

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There are times my obsession with photography seems to break the moment, when I am pulled away from the conversation or vision to reach for my iPhone. Mostly I’m glad that I recognize the singular splendor right before my eyes and if I use discretion I can snap a few dozen shots off to view later. After the moment. After the giggle session or the sweet kiss. Either way you only want to steal a second to capture the image. Then return. Thankful the now waits.

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These hectic days even a home-cooked meal can be a random moment to cherish. Our days run on forever and by the time we are home the sun has sunken beyond the hills and all that we can muster is simple fast cooking. But we are together. Candles are lit. There is wine in the crystal and fresh corn on the plate. I exhale. We stop and give thanks. Mid-meal I capture the look of our table. Messy with the day’s mail and lists and cluttered with our dinner plates. Perfect.

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Don’t get me wrong. Most of us need reminders. Clues. Signs. Moments that help us find our way back to now. Moments that cause us to breathe. Stop. Laugh. Feel something. Life is made of sweet minutes strung together to light up the whole of our day with random joy. Today, may you create your own luminous strand!

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