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Appreciate the joy in your life

What a week. So much to write about. Thankfully, I was intercepted by this lovely poem,* so let me invite you to put aside current events and dwell here for a few moments with me. As you read through, take your time. Read it twice. Even three times. Savor the words. It’s short. Picture the author, a poet in his 30s, hiking through the mountains with his two children. See the images in your mind’s eye. Each line is a perfect description followed by another perfect description. See what he sees, and see what the children see. In the final stanza, his deep and spiritual appreciation of nature is surpassed by his insight into our oh-so-human-adult propensity to insist on educating the children, to explain everything. He catches himself, though, and I was grateful: He didn’t do it. Just being there with them all soaking in the mystery and magnificence of their surroundings was enough. It’s enough on this twisting mountain road to simply stop. Clear water cascades thin down rock, startling admiration, white cloud swells of itself across ridgelines east and west, and who knows if the lake’s bright moon is above or below? It’s the season black and yellow millet both begin to ripen, oranges red and green, halfway into such lovely sweetness. All this joy in our lives – what is it but heaven’s great gift? Why confuse the children with all our fine explanations? Enjoy some natural beauty this week. Bathe in it. Breathe it in. And know the universal, timeless appeal of this joy in your life. * The poem is called “With Mao and Fang, Visiting Bright-Insight Monastery” and was written 1,000 years ago by Su Tung-p’o in south central China. Some things never change.


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