And finally, that all of this was shared with me as promptly as the time difference allowed showed they are thinking of me in their lives.
So much to take in and savour, in a 40-second video clip.
Similarly, I sent an email to my siblings noting that our dad, who died 45 years ago, would have been 100 on his birthday that week, and how I missed him still. My sister’s reply: “Yes, I miss him more and more ... oh well, at least he saved Her Maj a stamp” which made me laugh and cry at the same time. Bless my sister’s talent for simultaneously joining me in the abyss and hauling me out of it.
Then in the last week or so, one of our cycads has suddenly erupted with a new set of fronds. We have two cycads which take it in turns to sprout new growth and it was the smaller one that grew last time, seems like about two years ago. Looking at them both recently, I sighed: the remaining rosettes of spiky “leaves” looked browned at the edges and I thought perhaps they’d suffered enough neglect and were approaching the end. But they’re secretive, these living dinosaurs of the plant world; while I was shaking my head sadly over this apparently moribund specimen, it was getting ready to burst forth with a double set of delicate curled fronds.
Even without these singular occurrences, every day there is coming home to our dog. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s been a long or a short absence, our pooch is just as excited when we get home. He jumps onto the bed and spins in circles, races down the corridor, weaves between the coffee table and the couch, takes off under the dining table and sprints back up the corridor. Turning 13 last October hasn’t slowed him down either; he and I are equally grey haired but there’s no contest for agility and speed.
And there’s also the pleasure of watching the comings and goings of our resident birds and their occasional visitors. When we moved in, we planted native shrubs and trees and set up birdbaths of varying sizes and depths to attract birds, and we have been rewarded. I wonder how many households have a pair of binoculars and a camera with a huge lens permanently stationed on the dining table in case of rare sightings? Meals sometimes go cold while we watch with wonder the appearance of a new family of wrens or the occasional visit by a flame robin.
It’s these kinds of small joys that help keep us going when the going gets tough. I’ve been feeling a bit flat lately; after the flap and frazzle of summer on the Island where I work, the abrupt end of the holiday season can cause a mild crash. It’s crucial at times like these to be alert to simple pleasures; now that I’m not so focussed on work, I have spare moments to notice what’s going on around me, and there’s a lot to notice.
The important thing is to allow the observation to affect the spirits in a positive way. Look for wonders and you will find them everywhere, and notice the way they make you feel better. They might make you smile or laugh, or think about similar happy memories, or give you an idea for your next creative work. Share them with friends and family too; they might appreciate a lift as well. They might even share a bird sighting, joke from a friend or garden wonder in return and you’ll double your investment.
Be alert to small joys, and give thanks.
March 22, 2015
But why have I not discovered Miriam's beautiful writings before?
Now I have read them all, I feel joyful, loving, lighthearted, motivated, thankful and grateful that I am able to call Miriam a friend. Thank you for the giving and beauty you share.
I cannot resist quoting Khalil Gibran on giving:
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Felicia Di Stefano, Glen Forbes