My Dad drove a convertible. Once he turned onto our crab tree lined lane, the volume of his Beethoven’s Fifth rattling everyone’s windows, a harbinger of his arrival sending us out to greet him. Top down, music soaring, he was beaming in the sunshine and wind, after a long day of doctoring. After dinner rides to the Dairy Queen, a pile of neighborhood kids squashing into his back seat, quarters held tight in our palms, eager for one of those delicious dipped cones. My hair whipping around my face yet seriously nothing felt better on a hot night than those rides in his red convertible. Every summer I find myself, windows down, radio up, driving a bit too fast for the curves ahead, thinking of his love of all things summer, chasing those carefree snippets of youth.
Sure I’m in a rage about the 157 House Republicans whose narrow opinion clouds them from seeing the changed world of marriage which has flourished with same-sex couples, or the 195 House Republicans who voted against birth control protections, say wtf?!?!?, or the equally damaging climate setback Joe Manchin decided, upending efforts to save our one small planet currently on fire, or the U.S. Secret Service who accidentally deleted texts from, yes, you guessed it, January 6th. Did your brain just explode???? What a week. Clearly these media headlines are gut-grabbers, but the best news, often the small news, is worth our full attention if only we’d allow it to be. As we endure these July heat-waves, calmer is cooler, so hear me out. Let’s go straight to some good news.
There is an abundance of sorrow on this small Earth, of that we might all agree, but there is also, at least here in northern Vermont, the ability to find joy quite easily in May. In the buds and flowers and leaves and warming temps and that fabulous blue sky hovering like sapphires above each and everyone. I am not ignoring the staggering horrors dropping like thick fog, but I am asking that mess to push aside for this day to feel a joy so big it overpowers. This week joy seems to be what lots of people reminded me to feel too: an unfiltered, possibly even a radical joy.