Then you’re home. Barky dog, happy daughter, lovely smiling wife. This lifts the spirits. A pizza helps. Play with Gnat; give Jasper a bath, which he endures better than he usually does. Sunset comes. It starts to rain.
First, let me thank James. For most of the day yesterday, he had no column on The Bleat and just a link to the Voices project. More than a thousand readers came from that link. More than a thousand. Oh, to have that kind of power. Well, not really power, but people taking your word for something. See this link here? Go there. And then thousands of people go, because you said to and they all trust your judgment. If I had that power of suggestion I would wield it like a Sword of Linkage and soon everyone would be enjoying Acid Keg or reading the blogging perfection of Avocare.
But that's not the subject right now. The subject is being thankful and being grateful and taking in the little things. The whole life goes on mantra, except longer and more drawn out than three little words.
I have this thing for clouds. I could lay on the grass and stare at hours for the sky, just watching the clouds form and dissipate and form again into something bigger or wider or grayer.
I don't look at the clouds to see shapes of familiar things. I just take them for what they are; a huge mass of swirls here and a cross-stitch pattern of waves there. Clouds are powerful and fierce. They are benign and comforting.
Today, the clouds rose like mountains to the north. They were angry smokey grey tinged with white and they were hanging down so low it looked as if they stretched down into the ground, that if I kept driving until I reached the place where those clouds hung, I would drive right into them and get lost in the thickness.
It's just one of the little things I enjoy, one of the small pieces of living that reallly make me feel alive. I don't stop and smell the flowers because I'm allergic to them, but I do wake up and smell the coffee almost every day. But life is not as simple as a cliche. If it were, everyone would be smelling and seeing the same things and we would have nothing to tell each other.
Maybe you stop and smell the flowers and I stop and look at the clouds and another person will stops to taste the marzipan. Wake up and smell the bacon! Life is like a box of Froot Loops! Eat, drink and be....drunk!
I watched my son playing hockey with his friends in the driveway last night and my daughter chasing her little cousins around on the lawn and it felt so damn good. The air was cool, the sun was throwing off colors into the early evening sky and the jingle of the ice cream could be heard from blocks away. It was just one of those moments that you want to hold onto forever; you want time to stand still so we are always this happy and this joyous and this free.
Of course, it doesn't work that way, which is why we have cameras and camcorders and halfway decent memories. There are going to be days when the kids are screaming at each other instead of playing harmoniously together, where the neighbor's dog is taking a crap on your lawn and it's raining so hard your gutters are overflowing and someone is calling you with bad news.
No one remembers the exact moments of being estaticly happy. No one says, oh on July 16, 2002 at 7:08 p.m., I felt a surge of happiness in my heart. But we all remember times and dates and intimate details of our moments of despair. Just as no one takes pictures or movies of their family members sobbing over the coffin of Grandma. Well maybe they do, but I don't.
What I'm getting at is this: Right now my co-workers are taking me out for a much belated birthday lunch. And I am going to have a Strawberry Tallcake for my meal. And a margarita. And on the way back to work I am going to stare at the clouds and feel really good and lighthearted and wonderful. And I am going to write down the time and date and the color and shape of the clouds so I can remember in great detail how I felt complete joy at being alive at that moment, in the same way I remember in great detail the times I felt great sadness.
11:48 a.m. on Friday, September 12, 2003.
I feel good.