I love a good joke, well told, about as much as anything. Or lingering hugs and face-pats from my young grandkids as they stare into my eyes. Relaxed conversation and laughter with my daughters or extended family; a kiss and the deep eye-to-soul connection with my wife of many years.
Stalking, taking the measure, waiting, all the while contemplating the capture of a special photograph. A well-turned word or phrase, a stirring movie; a classic argument from one of the greats of history.
Joe Bonamassa or Aretha Franklin doing the Blues; remembering special times from my childhood or re-connecting with longtime friends from school or church; a warm smile on the face of an approaching stranger; deploying an ice-breaker that stimulates a delightful conversation with a new acquaintance.
Lee Ritenour jazz, a Josh Groban pop or classical piece, Bach’s “Prelude in C” or Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven — stirring stuff!
Topping the summit on a bicycle climb, pausing for a breath, then carving the turns down a steep descent. Casting a fly to the exact spot my eye chose, then watching as a fish rises through the spreading ripple to take it; watching the marvelous musculature and flow of a spirited horse in prance or gallop. Breathing, savoring the unique flavors hidden in the complexity of a nice red wine, marveling at the complex maneuvers of a bird in slow-motion lift-off; or laying back in the deep grass with arms behind head to stare at the ever-changing cloud patterns.
Being accompanied on my daybreak coastal bicycle ride by a pod of playful bottle-nosed dolphins.
Studying the lichens and mosses growing up the side of — and slowly digesting — the wood of an ancient barn now overshadowed by trees that were saplings when it was built. Smelling new-mown hay, sweet clover, honeysuckle, roses.
Opening, as if for the first time, the pages of an old familiar book-friend to delight, once again, at the well-known words that are ever-new:
You know, Doctor, I am a little man and this is a little town, but there must be a spark in little men that can burst into flame. I am afraid, I am terribly afraid, and I thought of all the things I might do to save my own life, and then that went away, and sometimes now I feel a kind of exultation, as though I were bigger and better than I am, and …. Do you remember in school, in the Apology? Do you remember Socrates says, ‘… a man who is good for anything ought not to calculate the chance of living or dying; he ought only to consider whether he is doing right or wrong.’ ~ J. Steinbeck, The Moon Is Down.
Bacon, eggs and pancakes with a drizzle of honey and chased by stout espresso, or a dinner of charcoal-grilled salmon and pasta flavored by savory oregano, black pepper and EVOO, accompanied by steamed veggies and a Sangiovese or Primativo.
Or a tin of sardines with horseradish mustard, taken on a break on the mountain trail. Sitting by a crackling campfire on a chill night, contemplating the mystery that God loves me. Awaking at first light to frost on the ground, stomach growling with the anticipation of a hot breakfast and a long hike to the next campsite. A snowshoe trek through a deep, fresh mountain snow; the wind sighing in the evergreens.
“Count it all joy!”
Alas, I return to the day’s tasks.
Carpe diem. Vita brevis!
© July 9, 2016, by Michael E. Stubblefield. All rights reserved.