I'll take joy.
Or, I'm rattling off my son's Burger King order: "I'd like the western bbq cheeseburger please." And again, the voice, asking, "What would you like with that? "I'll take fries."
I'll take joy.
I'll take joy. I whispered the phrase to myself throughout the day, neck deep in recovery from an intense but wonderful "mother-of-the-groom" wedding weekend. Every plant in the house needed watered, and when I paused a bit longer to take pleasure in my odd little cacti collection, I nodded to myself...I'll take joy. The washer never stopped, I had "stuff" to haul to the attic, and I'd promised to make sloppy joes for the concessions stand. That laundry still waited to be folded, The to-do list didn't seem to have an end...
[I've been closely observing "what works" to lower the stress/anxietyworry levels in my life, and these walks are near the top of the list. A long meander works too, but more time is required, and then anxiety slips back in while I'm trying to make up for lost time. So, regular brisk walks with occasional meanders seem to be a good combination for me. Still, I must choose. More on this thread on another post.]
So, before I could talk myself out if it, I snagged my tattered walking shoes and headed out the door. And honestly, what else could I choose to do in those thirty minutes that couldn't be done later…or not at all? What would I remember in a week or two? Fifteen minutes out, fifteen minutes back, that was my specific time constraint since Youngest would be waiting to be picked up at school, and then he'd need lunch.
The air was brisk and so was my pace. I breathed in deeply. "I'll take joy." Smile.
heard a crow caw from the dead oak snag along the creek,
and inhaled the scent from the half mowed field of greenest green alfalfa.
I spent a few minutes chatting with the neighbor boy who was walking two massive work horses back to the barn for a noon break.
I focused my eyes on the first flame orange tree along the fence row…might be a maple.
A yellow butterfly, probably a Clouded Sulphur, one of our most abundant butterflies, danced up from a fencerow weed. It was nothing spectacular, just an everyday yellow splash of color that fluttered ahead of me, settling on a purple thistle.
It seemed to be waiting. For me?
By the time I drew alongside its perch, my escort rose on quivering wings and continued ahead a few more yards. This scenario repeated multiple times as I advanced along my route. At times the golden sparkle hovered just in front of me, eye level, as if to say, "Come on, come on," and I discovered I could not walk as fast as that wisp-winged triangle could fly. Who knew?
"I should be counting," I thought to myself. It would be perfect to add the sighting of a dozen or so butterflies to my 10,000 Reasons gratitude list for today. (It started as a One Thousand Gifts list, but that was a few notebooks ago…) I thought about it as I peered over the bridge wall - no ducks in sight today, and the Great Blue Heron had winged silently overhead half a mile ago. I'll take joy, I reminded myself, and decided that on the way home, I would count butterflies along that one weedy section of fence row.
I started counting…
One simple Clouded sulphur, three Cabbage whites, another splash of yellow, on and on;
I counted simple joys.
Forty-six butterflies danced skyward on a quarter mile stretch of unknown country road,
an unkempt fence row lined with thistles some farmer thought his son had taken care of months ago.
I couldn't stop smiling.
Forty-six butterflies. Forty- six!!
One ordinary moment after another, I counted,
and I took joy, yes. I. did.
Dear God, I will take joy, one butterfly at a time,
and I will be grateful for this moment. This one, oh and that one too.
I. will. take. joy…with a side of butterflies.