October 2: I saw a unicycle on the bike trail today. I think the rider was commuting to Washington DC, along with a parade of other cyclists. Did the rider know how many heads he turned, how many smiles he prompted, how many commutes he made just a little more fun?
October 3: A classroom story shared by Nate: We had an animated conversation in the classroom, with children falling all over each other to share ideas. The teacher finally said, “We don’t need to hear all these voices at once. What do you think you should do?” One boy shouted happily, “RAISE YOUR HAND!”
October 4: I received a surprise bouquet today: First, on my walk to the Metro, I found a Rose of Sharon blessing a hardworking cinder block. At lunch, a lavish, look-at-me display of market blooms grabbed my eyes with their extraordinary size and color. Then, in the gym parking lot, a cluster of thigh-high ornamental grasses stopped me abruptly: overnight, each trumpeted delicate pink-lavender fronds that gathered, swayed and took my breath away in their soft surprising loveliness.
October 5: The stiff-bristled brush raked my scalp as though autumn leaves lay there. Firm fingers glided through soap lather to massage crown and temple. Each snip of the scissor or whirr of the razor gently tugged my hair roots. And my hairdresser and I kept company in warm silence. Getting my hair cut each month is 40 minutes of sensation and rest. A delight. And a delight I almost didn’t record again, having shared it before. But I don’t want to confuse delight with novelty: Yes, surprises can delight us, but routine can delight us too. Indeed, I wonder: how often do I ignore the delightful, recurring ordinary? I believe those moments — more than the surprises — truly nourish our joy.
October 6: Kevin told me this story: Bat meets ball: good. Bat meets mom’s mouth: bad. Her child’s swing connected with her front tooth, flinging it —roots and all — into the grass. Mom hurried to her dentist, while her child and her husband pawed the grass looking for the tooth. Found! At the dentist’s direction, the dad sped to his wife with the living tooth nestled securely, warmly and wetly in his own mouth. Triumphant, the dad presented his treasure to the dentist who, after an antiseptic swish, popped it right in the mom’s tooth socket. (Practically) good as new. And completely amazing.
October 7: Ok, I won’t pretend that a playoff loss is a delight. (I found something else to celebrate yesterday…) But it does nicely tee up a big WIN tonight against the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series. Gutsy pitching and timely hitting defeated swirling wind and rain — and the Nats’ talented opponent. Strangers exchanged high fives and hugs in the stands, and fan-led chants swept through the ballpark. Our soundtrack? The BeeGees’ “Staying Alive,” Smash Mouth’s “I’m a Believer,” and traffic-stuck car horns pulsing Let’s Go Nats, each in a different tone. Game Five will be what it will be. But 2019 Game Four belongs to us forever.
October 8: I have a new office, new colleagues and a new route to familiar places. I’m amazed how pivoting 180 degrees on the same office plaza exposes me to fresh views and chance encounters with old friends: they’ve been there all along. It reminds me of a scene in You’ve Got Mail (yes, one of my favorite movies), where we watch Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks weave in and out of Manhattan’s autumn-kissed Upper West Side. Always within yards of each other and never intersecting — until at last they do. The Cranberries’ “Dreams” might be playing in the background. I can’t wait to see tomorrow what I’ve always been missing.
Trivia postscript: Thank you, dear readers! I hereby declare that Washington, Alaska and Hawaii are also acceptable answers to the trivia question I shared in my September 30 post. These are indeed as much “states” of volcanoes as dormant-active-extinct! Aren’t words fun?
A Reader’s Reflections: Jini shares this lovely piece, called Connections and Bridges: “I was inspired yesterday by the show on Octopus “love,” with its own kind and humans. And the story of two herds of elephants making the journey to the “elephant whisperer’s” home the day after he died. They held a two day vigil at his home. He had rescued them earlier. —- If connections can be felt even from far distances and bridges can be built between species, imagine what can happen within species.”
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