The Simple Joys of Life

This past week was a hot one – really just summer weather but a rarity this year, at least for such an expanse of days. I actually don’t mind this weather but I am grateful for an air-conditioned home.

Rayna & Tucker at BloomingdaleTo beat the heat, Rayna and I had our long morning walks at Snyder Flats in Bloomingdale every day (usually we only go a few times a week). For those of you unfamiliar to this dog mecca, it is a remediated gravel pit back the dirt road by Shirley Lynn’s office. Trails meander in and around several ponds with lots of space for everyone to roam alone or in small groups.

The ponds and shaded trails were beckoning us to enjoy them this week. And we were not alone – other humans and their dogs were also out and about in the heat, finding pleasure in a variety of things: long dips in the water; resting on a bench in the shade; games of chase in the long grass and into the water with other like-minded souls; shaking off a coat full of water in the midst of ‘dry’ [and maybe less-liberated] humans, re-saturating in the water to do it again; listening to the bustle of other creatures in the trees and grasses; discovering interesting scents in all kinds of nooks and crannies along the way; meeting up with dog or human friends, or making new ones. These are some of the simple joys I shared with Rayna this past week.

I feel privileged to be able to experience these joys with Rayna. Moving through the world with another species can be enlightening. It makes me more aware of the many joyful moments and experiences available to me as well – I just have to be present and willing to participate.

How often do we wish we had more time or opportunity for joy-filled experiences? We might mark our ‘planned’ happy times on our calendars [vacations, dates, sports events, parties, etc.] and eagerly anticipate the moment they arrive. Other times we are surprised by some unexpected happiness that occurs in our lives and consider ourselves lucky to have such good fortune. But really, joy is an ever-present reality – whether we are conscious of it or not. But by being conscious of it we can be grateful. And by being grateful, we can encourage and expect more happiness.

What Rayna showed me again last week is that life is full of joy and happiness – it is all-encompassing. If we live in expectation of joy and goodness, it will happen. Sure, there are times when something happens that knocks our confidence or our view of the world. They are challenging and can make us feel sad, or angry, or fearful or … . But these can be seen as just moments within a larger experience of joy and gratitude.

As a young dog (6 months), some might say Rayna is living in innocence and naivety. But perhaps this is really wisdom, and having an understanding of the true intended spirit of life. I encourage us all to look more to our children, our animals, our environment, to witness a better way of being – where the simple joys of life are enough.

As Shirley Lynn posted last week “go and <b>be with the joy</b> that is around” us all. Revel in it and be grateful for it.

posted by Lucy Martin