In this crazy stressful world in which we live, sometimes it’s important to step back, breathe, and take a moment to notice simple pleasures all around us. Often, I’m so focused on productivity, every moment of every day, that even in the vehicle I keep my nose buried in my computer and don’t appreciate the world around me – I move through it, but not part of it. The other day I drove during the zany long weekend traffic up north – not once, but twice. (Not being a martyr or glutton for punishment; it just worked out that way). But instead of griping about the inevitably long trek, I decided to just kick back and enjoy. And guess what? I did.
It’s amazing how when you open yourself to what the universe has to offer, she delivers. The first thing that caught my eye was a disembodied arm hanging out the driver’s window in front of me – frozen in a straight line at first, like a left turn signal. But then the fingers started wiggling. I could imagine the owner of that arm enjoying the feeling of the air flowing between and around his fingers. I could practically feel it myself. I couldn’t resist sneaking a peek at who was attached to the sensory fingers. An older guy – I’d put him at mid-sixties, cropped silver hair and an almost military bearing. And then, as if in sync, a matching disembodied arm floated out the driver’s window in the next lane in front and to the right side of me. His hand clenched and released over and over again as if grasping at air. Then his fingers formed what at first I thought was the unmistakable ‘hang loose’ sign (although checking out the owner of this hand in the mirror reflected someone too young to know the hang loose symbol). I realized he was flashing ‘I love you’ in sign language – which he may or may not have been aware of, but it didn’t matter because it was perfect. He started tapping out a beat in the air and against the side of his vehicle at the same time as the driver directly in front of me – you got it, the silver-haired fox – bent his arm at the elbow and started tapping a tune on the roof of his car. How beautiful was that? A symphony being conducted in stereo by two unwitting maestros on the highway in the middle of a traffic jam.
And when I finally made it off the highway, and turned onto the street leading home, I came across a stopped vehicle, blocking the road I was turning onto, its owner, donning a baseball glove in each hand, gently prodding a snapping turtle to safety at the side of the road, his wife directing from the sidelines. It made me smile – inside and out. Who said there weren’t random acts of kindness anymore?
When I made it through the front door of my own home sweet home and flaked out on the back deck for a moment of quiet solitude, a hummingbird whizzed into view from my left, but incredibly, stopped, hovering directly in front of me, as if staring directly at me, communing in some way, for five long glorious seconds. And I sighed a deep sigh, and remembered what an amazing world we live in and what a gift this thing called life is when you take the time to appreciate its simple pleasures.