We note, for example, that our senses don’t quite work the way they once did.
That, and the fact that time is speeding past.
And that we rush way too much in our lives.
But if we are paying attention there are other things we notice too, like the fact that diminishing physical powers are more than made up for by a less judging disposition. Lots of folks just get nicer as we age.
I myself have noticed that life is full of invitations to have a good laugh.
I think of the day my then-Sixth Grade boy was waiting for me to finish checking out at the supermarket.
He dropped a quarter into those little vending machines there by the door and fished out a sort of tiny plastic jigsaw ball which, we gathered, you were meant to pull apart then try putting together again.
On the basis of what they chose to name this strange little gizmo, we guessed that its makers were new to the English language.
“The Fabulous Decomposing Ball” it was called and the instructions that came with it, encircled by a forest of exclamation points, read this way:
- (1) Hold in Hand
- (2) Drop to Floor
- (3) Have Fun Decomposing.
This three-line ‘poem’ had all of us – four shoppers and the checkout person – laughing our heads off there by the cash register.
And for sure that was something I didn’t expect to see happen when I set out that day to follow my same old path to my same old supermarket.
But that’s my point: ‘unexpectedly’ is exactly the way most laughter comes; unannounced and as a gift, often from a stranger.
I believe life offers us regular helpings of such opportunities for laughter.
The trick is staying awake enough to notice when you’re being offered such gifts.
What helps me stay that awake is jotting down what I see and hear in a week or a day or even just an hour.
You can call that keeping a journal but really it’s not as formal as that.
In fact you don’t have to write things down at all to be such a chronicler.
You just have to stay alert and notice what you’re noticing, like the kindness, and the courage and the simple joy fountaining out all around us every day.
I can attest to the fact that witnessing such things will act as an antidote to the blues every time. Noticing what happens around you, remembering the exchanges you have with people and the exchanges you see them having with each other will help you fully inhabit every minute of your waking day.
There’s a poem by Robert Frost that I have always loved in which he talks about savoring autumn’s beauty.
In it he is addressing Nature, the architect of all this glory. “Release one leaf at break of day; at noon release another leaf,” he implores Her..
“Retard the sun with gentle mist; enchant the land with amethyst” And how I love that last line with the evocation of amethyst’s royal tones!
Maybe we actually CAN slow down the all-too-quick progression of our days, just by savoring them.
And what wise soul said that the journey was the destination? That person was right. The journey IS the destination.
So let’s raise a toast to the change of seasons, and laugh, and – why not? – have fun decomposing just like those quirky instructions advised.