Meeting Authors

It’s fun to meet an author whose books I’ve enjoyed. There’s a humility to writing that seems to keep authors more grounded than other celebrities.  They speak about hearing their characters talk and following where their stories lead, expressing their experience that the story is bigger than they are.

I like that sense of mission and of connection with a bigger story.  It’s applicable to all activities, I think, not just creative works.  There is a bigger story to engage and guide us and if we listen we can contribute to it, too.

Hot Water

It’s an amazing thing to have a regular supply of clean hot water right in my house.  The ability to stay clean and enjoy the refreshment of a hot shower in the morning is an astonishing luxury, making it so easy to start my day with gratitude.

Isn’t it odd that “being in hot water” means being in trouble, when the actually experience is so delightful?  There’s mixed views on the origin of the expression, but one story claims it dates back hundreds of years to a time when hot water was poured down on enemies attacking a castle.

I can’t help thinking that if the “enemies” were invited in and offered a hot bath instead, the world would have had a much happier history.

Wind

Today was an uncommonly windy day, what Winnie-the-Pooh would call a blustery day.  It was a good day for staying inside and finally slogging through my backlog of paperwork.

The wind sounded fierce, but it wasn’t actually a dangerously strong wind.  Had it been autumn, leaves would have been flying.  But it’s late winter and all the trees are still bare except the evergreens whose needles always manage to hold on.  The branches held their own, too.

So I got to enjoy a snug day at home, secure from the howling yet harmless wind and a great reminder that things are not necessarily as bad as they sound.

Birthdays

Today isn’t my birthday.  It’s not the birthday of anyone I know, though it turns out Steve Jobs, Chester Nimitz, and Enrico Caruso shared this birthday, along with about 250 million others throughout human history.  (See here for an interesting look at how many people have ever lived and to debunk the much-quoted idea that there are more people alive today than all of the people who have ever died.)

I’m finding joy in the fact that every day is an opportunity to celebrate different people, both alive and in memory, and that each of us has our own place in that rich tapestry.  As I take a moment to watch the world population clock and see births flying by, I rejoice that every single one adds something new, will touch other lives, and holds the seeds of greatness.

Over, Under, and Through

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.  –Bilbo Baggins

“Let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”   —Albus Dumbledore

Even the most well-trodden, repetitive road carries adventure if we can see it.  The roads connect the places we care about and connect us with strangers. Who will we meet? What will we see?

I love the fact that there are bridges and tunnels, that people have found a way to go over and under and through to explore and connect. It’s easy to take it all for granted, to get caught up in my thoughts and miss the journey altogether. But that’s missing out on the adventure that could be.

Traffic Lights

Perhaps joy isn’t the first thing you think of when you think about traffic lights. I once described them as the way grown-ups take turns and I started thinking about that today.

Traffic lights are such an elegant system. Easy to understand and remarkably fair, they keep us all moving in an orderly fashion just because we all agree to it. We move forward and we let others move forward, everybody moving in their own direction, but all making progress together.

Traffic lights also offer a moment of reflection, a pause in our journey, time to enjoy a moment of rest. They give us a chance to look around at pedestrians and drivers, at stores and streets and trees.

Go, pause, stop – all properly timed in a regular sequence.  There’s a lot to learn from the traffic lights.

Uniqueness

Isn’t it amazing that every person is unique?  Ideas and dreams, humor and creativity, no  two people are exactly the same.  Life is enriched by each person and there’s no replacement for them.

What if I remember that in every interaction?

Maybe I’d see beyond what they look like or what they’re wearing.  And see beyond their job or lack of job or where they live.  Perhaps I’d see beyond their politics and lifestyle.  Just possibly I’d even appreciate the people who annoy me.