May 15, 2019: While heating my lunch today, I gazed out the window to the courtyard of my office building. We had moved to this magnificent New Deal structure twenty years ago. Steps away from the Smithsonian museums, the building is a museum itself. Staircases spiral to vertiginous heights, signs of the zodiac decorate our law library, and silver-toned statues gaze from conference room niches. The greatest — and most famous — art in our building are the murals, painted during the New Deal by prominent artists to celebrate the U.S. mail. Our building was once the domain of the Postmaster General, and our courtyard was once a parking lot. Now mature trees, planted as saplings twenty years ago, circle the courtyard fountain and invite me to visit. Maybe tomorrow?
May 16, 2019: We know we should do the right thing. And we know we’ll feel better when we do. And sometimes the universe conspires to deliver a bigger payoff than we envisioned. Today, running late, I studied the calendar on my phone as I passed a musician singing under the Metro arches. Even if I don’t have a dollar with me, I always greet him. Today, I didn’t. Reaching the top of the Metro escalators, I felt the weight of passing him by. I turned around, descended the two flights of escalators to say hello. A do-over. There I was greeted by a gaggle of toddlers emerging from the Metro. They were enchanted by the musician’s song and his expansive kindly presence. I was enchanted by their connection. The musician reprised his song: “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.” Indeed.
May 17, 2019: Today, a dear (dear) friend visited Washington DC from Tucson with her wife and two daughters. My friend and I had worked together 24 years ago, and we’d seen each other only a handful of times since then. Her family was in town to celebrate the college graduation of their younger daughter. They savored museums, Korean Hot Pot and even a bit of rain. My friends’ daughters sparkled with intelligence, charm and confidence. Seeing them so delightfully grown up electrified me, and reminded me of my friend, who is all of those things too.
May 18, 2019: A surprising place of delight today: a church “revisioning” meeting, where we, the Spiritual Growth team, tested a possible mission for ourselves and imagined the impact of our ministry: to promote reflection and awakening, Biblical literacy, service, fellowship, and community-welcome — in order to foster an environment where we find the thin places and encounter God. I kind of like that. Afterwards, Jeremiah and I tackled a mountain of dirty dishes in happy companionship and treated ourselves to outdoor dining and a new book or two. I was nourished in all sorts of ways.
May 19, 2019: On Thursday, as I waited for my table at a restaurant, a server greeted me: “You look just like Jamie Lee Curtis!” “Wow, thanks,” I said. “I love her in Freaky Friday.” “Me too!” she said, “I’ve watched that movie over and over again!” “Me too! I love the scene where she gets her hair cut really short….” “Yes! And then totally transforms into a badass rocking woman!” “I love that too! And then the scene when she realizes that she can eat french fries in Lindsay Lohan’s body!” “Yes! The WHOLE movie is amazing!” My lunch partner and the hostess watched all this with some mix of bafflement and, well, impatience? We eventually stopped our fangirl gushing and exchanged hugs. Maybe I’ll watch the movie again soon; when I do I’ll think of my new friend.
May 20, 2019: A friend told me a story redolent of cloak-and-dagger, all to glimpse an exotic Blue Ridge wildflower. In search of a pink Lady Slipper, which he knew to be in bloom in May, my friend took one of his weekend hikes in Shenandoah National Park. He asked a park ranger where he’d find this beautiful and rare orchid. Rather than point “thataway,” the ranger directed him to a nearby visitors center. The ranger there looked him in the eye and fired up the grill: “Who are you? Where are you from? What’s your purpose?” And more. My friend apparently passed muster and was directed to a particular trail head. Hike, hike hike. Miles later, my friend encountered another ranger and another set of questions. Finally, that ranger relented and revealed the secret location. Although orchid thieving is serious business — thank you, park rangers! — my friend’s story made me laugh. And now we can see what he saw. Such beauty!
May 21, 2019: Yesterday was hot and humid, but today dawned delightfully cool, with a bit of breeze and low humidity. I stepped out into the beautiful morning to water my new flowers, which miss our typical May rain. I lingered and lingered, enjoying one of the most exquisitely soft and gorgeous mornings I can recall. I think that contemplative beauty — so early, so quiet — seeded my entire day with joy.