It didn’t take me long to learn that the discipline or practice of writing these essays occasioned a kind of delight radar. Or maybe it was more like the development of a delight muscle. Something that implies that the more you study delight, the more delight there is to study … I also learned this year that my delight grows — much like love and joy — when I share it.Ross Gay, The Book of Delights
I finished Ross Gay’s delightful Book of Delights this month. It sat on my nightstand for nearly a month while I savored just a few essays each night. Truly, that was some of the best before-bed reading I’ve had in a while.
I loved how varied the topics were – carports, the poetry on church signs, trains, birds, painted flowers on a mid-century drinking glass, hard s*@! about being a Black, gay man in this country – and how Gay studied (practiced?) delight, not only by noticing, exploring, and writing about it, but also by sharing it. In a nutshell, this book was about being Present, finding hope, listening, sharing kindness, being curious, and, when needed, letting go. In short, it was this month’s lesson for my OLW … tied up with a bow!
It’s been two weeks since I finished the book; it’s not quite long enough to know which lessons will really stick – still:
- Delight is a practice – practice requires you to be PRESENT.
- Practice requires … practice!
- Paying attention is key. You can’t find delight in what you don’t even notice.
- It is ok (and maybe even a good thing) to find delight in hard s*@! We don’t have to find that s*@! delightful, but we can find delight in that s*@! … in the people, the relationships, the utter absurdity of the situation, or even the color of a t-shirt. It’s still delight. and it still matters.
- Shared delight is SHARED DELIGHT (this photo is 10 years old and it still brings me delight).
And in that spirit of sharing, here are a few things that (recently) sparked delight for me:
- Finding a connection about Josephine Baker in two books I was reading (I googled her the first time and then remembered about that when I saw her name again).
- References to knitting in books (The Colony, Case Studies). and extreme delight if it forwards the plot (The Colony).
- A conversation with Marc this morning about Chip and Dale and Peter, the critters who are likely snatching his tomatoes before they even begin to ripen. I know Marc is really frustrated and when we name the “culprits”, and picture them scampering down the lawn, tossing a very green tomato aside after one tiny bite because “oh my, too tart” or “oh my, too hard” it makes us laugh … together.
- Empty space on my calendar (and the opportunity to write a blog post).
- Those gray curls doing their thing. gah, y’all, it took me way too many tries to get the photo I shared above. Seems no matter how many times I tell myself to let it go … I forget. I wish so much for all of us that we could find DELIGHT in how(who) we ARE.
and that, my friends, is another lovely lesson in PRESENT.
Thank you again to Carolyn for hosting this monthly connection. and thank all of you for being part of my story. xxoo.