To Awaken Joy

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb. (Don't Hesitate)” - Mary Oliver

Needing a break from a sense of despair, I walked up a canyon road.  My feet felt heavy as I started off, my shoulders still carrying the weight of the world. Ten minutes in I found my rhythm and noticed the absence of the glaring summer sun. A clouded sky was shading my path and the humidity on my skin felt cool against the breeze. Turning the bend, a black and yellow swallowtail danced her way towards me and I put out my hand. She hovered above for few playful beats before gracefully dancing off towards the field. Songbirds mused between leafy branches and the screech of a hawk circled high above. A swarm of bees hummed deep into the trees until fading into silence. I paused. A single bee bumbled inside a wildflower. I felt soothed by the rambling stream. An hour in, I came across a sunlit clearing where a dozen or more dragonflies glimmered in the light. I was surrounded by a flight of ancient golden wings, swirling in and out on invisible paths. Enveloped by their aerial display, my body felt lighter, my heart had some space, my breath had depth, my senses were awake. I wasn't heavy with worry like I had been for weeks. I felt grounded and lifted— a grateful release! I sensed a glimmer of hope on those dragonfly wings. And I realized in attending to the depths of sorrow, I had forgotten to leave space in my heart for delight. Sometimes it takes a walk to remember and a dragonfly moment to awaken joy.