Delights: June 11 to June 17

June 11: Tears can delights too, right? A colleague described to me today how a simple act of kindness a few years ago so profoundly mattered to him. All I had done was introduce myself at a new-hires mixer and then stop him in the hallway three months later to smile a greeting and ask (again) his name. The easiest kindness in the world for me and yet, for him, it was an act of caring too little shown in that workplace. Many times I’ve reminded Nate and Jeremiah never to miss an opportunity to be kind. And I’ve said that we can never know the effect that even the smallest kindness can cause: often an effect far more powerful than the slight cost of that kindness to us. I may have lifted up my colleague a few years ago; his note to me profoundly lifted me today. (Be kind; we never know how a simple kindness might change someone’s day — or life.)

June 12: I met two friends today whom I’ve known only through our annual silent retreats. Naturally, we had much to talk about. And it’s funny: even in deep week-long silence, we could sense — and experience — each other’s kindness, generosity and faithfulness. Our conversation colored a few of the empty spaces; Grace had already completed the rest.

A view of the pond at the Bon Secours Retreat and Conference Center.

June 13: Nationals Park is now freely open to fans, which means a few more queues  — and a lot more friends. Kathy and I sipped our beer and watched a rare Nats victory. (One player always performs well when Kathy is in the stands.) And I chatted with my other companion, Karen, whom I’ve known for nine seasons and hadn’t seen in nineteen months. We recalled the day she tossed peanuts at my back to get my attention — and renew a ballpark acquaintance we’d made a few games earlier. We’ve since taken our friendship off the field. Put that one in the win column!

And here’s another friend — a bald eagle mascot named Screech — who joined us in the stands on Sunday.

June 14: At the ballpark at night, moths glided under the banks of lights. Although it was summer below, over my head I saw only flecks of swirling snow, shaken in a shining globe.

June 15: The blazing orange sun hovered above the horizon, as though waiting for me to notice. I did. Even in sunglasses, I couldn’t gaze into the light. But I could relish clouds like purple smudges and others like gilt-edged curves of ivory porcelain. And all this through my car’s driver-side mirror. 

I was not the only one enjoying the sunshine along Four Mile Run today. Behold my first turtle in 23 years at this creek.

June 16: At the marsh along the bay, I stood with the warm sun on my back, breeze on my skin, and shushing leaves and reeds around me. I watched a luminous white heron standing perfectly still, its reflection as beautiful as the bird itself. I tipped my head 90 degrees, and I saw a pair of hands, elbows wide, closing in prayer. I lingered, having come not for the exercise but for the joy.

June 17: This morning, my neighbor stopped by to make sure I knew about the Air Show this weekend. Indeed, contrails of sound streaked across the sky all day long: bi-planes, stunt planes and even jets. My neighbor said she knew I was out there on the patio because, when the first Thunderbird of the day screamed over head, I caught a glimpse of the jet’s distinctive shape, threw my arms up high, and shouted “Awesome!” 

Photo of a cicada feasting on blooms by Ricky Harper

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10 thoughts on “Delights: June 11 to June 17

  1. Some lovely delights this week – and a great picture of a cicada.

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    1. Thank you! I was lucky my friend Ricky Harper shared it with me.

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  2. Acts of kindness – these little seeds we plant can grow and return to find us in unexpected ways! What a joy to find out how you’ve affected someone. Tears are definitely a delight in this instance!

    I am very taken by your time with your silent retreat friends – a reminder how a shared experience can bind, even if the experience does not involve conversation.

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    1. Thank you, Ju-Lyn, for noticing both of those things. Think how our world would change if we allowed ourselves to believe that OUR small kindnesses can so profoundly matter. And you’re so right about shared experiences, whether it’s a walk, a savored view or even companionable reading side by side. There are so many ways we can touch each other.

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      1. I think we affect people more than we realise – in positive as well as negative ways. I remember a piece of advice a mentor passed on decades ago: she said that she had the mind to spread “good gossip” any chance she had. I was so taken by this notion that I have carried it with me to this day – although I have expanded it to include “smiles”, “random acts of kindness” to it!

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