Friday, December 23, 2022

Joy Times Three

Tis the season to remember that joy needs attention. It requires focus. Joy is a little like a butterfly - beautiful, fragile, but persistent and capable of astonishing feats. Held too tightly, it crumbles. It arrives when conditions have been cultivated to attract it - like planting milkweed in the garden attracts monarchs. You can also chase joy across continents and into dark jungles if finding the rarest kinds intrigues you. I am one of those people who needs to be reminded to allow myself to stop and let joy arrive. Three things help do that.

1. Cats. Living with little obligate carnivores who have massive outsized personalities is a delight. Each cat has his or her specific routines and every day, I'm gifted with a few minutes with each of them. Perceval wants to nap in my lap. Arya wants me to brush her and then throw her favorite toy. Peseshet wants me to come out to the lanai and pet her while she rolls on the bricks in the sun. Crow wants to lounge in my lap each evening. Raven needs a milk bottle cap slid along the floor for him to chase and fetch back to me. And Corvid needs a cuddle in one specific rocking chair in the house where he can flop over and pretend to nurse against my stomach. There's a lot of cute (and weird) but there's something warm and lovely and joyful about being a safe place for these creatures who share my home.


2. Boats. This one is cheating a little because it hits so many joy buttons for me. Nature. Stories. Freedom. Adventure. Getting to go new places and see/experience new things. Silence. Broad swathes of stillness and time. Sailing requires that you make room to simply stop and be. I love the sun on my skin and a good breeze filling my sails and the pull of water on my wheel or tiller. Feeling my way into the groove where wave and water and boat all work together. It isn't always possible. Conditions aren't always right for that. But the times it all aligns, challenging conditions turn into a sleigh ride that takes you from point A to point B in relative ease. It's a metaphor that extends well past taking the swells on the quarter and a 25 knot wind slightly aft of abeam.

3. Tea. Tea is a trip in a cup. It's a simple ritual that invites you to slow down, close your eyes, breathe in the fragrant steam rising from a set of wet leaves that grew half a world away. 

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