"Profound soul-ease." Les mots just, and I am keenly grateful for your thoughts, Hayden. I thought hard about characterizing such moments as small joys, and for reasons you suggest:
It seems to me that the celebrated joys (all of the big expensive things) offer much less comfort, less solace than those of calm, relation to nature's other creatures, the natural world that we have (in large) repudiated except as a fantasy resort.Big-ticket events and celebrations come with an expectation of big payoffs in the joy department. Weddings, island vacations, winning the lottery, tickets to the Superbowl--we plan and anticipate for months. Our anxiety for creating the perfect experience, and the subsequent exhaustion sometimes overwhelms any joy we may accrue by the time the big day arrives.
For me, the truly big joys, the ones that make my heart swell to bursting, tend to be things like the birth of a child; driving down Highway 1 and coming upon a pod of whales feeding, diving, breaching for an hour while we watched from the best possible vantage point; raising my voice in harmony in a friend's living room with two dozen amateur musicians who sing and play for the love of it.
Those are the big joys. At the end of the day, my face aches from smiling and I sleep long and hard and well.
But oh, how I love the small joys: my granddaughter's head falling onto my shoulder, nestled just so against my neck, as she gives in to sleep; looking up from my computer, where I've spent too many hours, to find the moon, full on in the living room window, its magical glow spread across the darkened floor; riding the escalator into the subway to the strains of Mozart performed live by a chamber quartet.
Such are the manna that sustain and nourish us. These are the moments I try to capture on the rare occasions I post to Village of Ordinary. What joys nurture you? Share a few of them here, won't you?