In the words of Ansel Adams, I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful – an endless prospect of magic and wonder.
When I take Ansel Adam’s words and integrate them with Albert Einstein’s words there are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle, you can live as if everything is a miracle, the result is
An awe-filling encounter one early September evening.
Gosh, I am not even sure what to refer to the large gathering of dragonflies that graced our yard on a particular night. Swarm? Flock? Less important the name of this flying community; most important was how incredibly breathtaking it was to witness their joyous dancing across the ballroom sky. Twirls, swoops, dips. Pendulum swings left and right. Sideways figure eights in their elegant glides.
Perhaps they were trying to spell to me, I-N-F-I-N-I-T-Y.
Another inspiring word to me like H-O-P-E.
Their wings would catch the light, twinkling daylight stars periodically glowing in oblong circular motions. Though I hold every intention you can witness this spectacular sight in a video I will share, I know the clip will fall short of you being able to see through my eyes the September evening I welcomed at least forty dragonflies as our temporary guests.
My beloved Roo played a part in this magical encounter, as evidenced in the moon that was starting to make an appearance for the night. She was nudging me to see and see again, to hear and hear again.
To revisit words in the first few pages of my memoir, life brings moments we wish wouldn’t, or never had to, take place. When we find purpose in each one…We find the ability to bravely and gracefully move through life, through every up and down we are certain to experience.
And if we embrace the purpose, we know unconditional love.
We know what it is to feel the essence of love.
I recently shared with someone that when we experience loss, it might feel like our heart is breaking apart, but I believe it is our heart making room to know more and greater love.
I remember as a little girl, my mom and I found a yellow tiger kitten alongside the road on a cold rainy night. I named him Morris, after the commercial cat, and loved him with my petting and cuddles all the way home, about a forty-minute drive.
My mind remembers it as the next day, but it may have been a few days later that Morris found warm refuge under the hood of a recently turned off vehicle which was not a safety zone for survival the next time the vehicle was started. At the time, I was only aware of my grief.
I now look into my heart and see where it expanded at the spot that Morris touched. Water to a seed in learning that no matter the length of the dash between birth and death, to experience such things as gentleness, kindness, compassion, and most of all love is to have experienced the…beauty of life.
And I am certain my next feline loves such as Mountain Dew and Topper knew even greater love from me because I knew what it was to lose a purring friend. I wanted to hold Mountain Dew and Topper even tighter because I didn’t want something to happen to either of them.
I extract more words from the first few pages of my memoir. A person facing loss starts to see beauty where their eyes and their heart were clouded by a to-do list or by a sense tomorrow is always guaranteed. When their perspective shifts, what begins to matter most is what someone else still takes for granted. To watch a sunset—to really watch a sunset—is nothing short of beautiful and extraordinary.
I find I am pausing more to really watch a sunset.
To linger my eyes longer at which winged visitors are at the bird feeder outside my office window.
To observe every eager step Ginger takes to run to the garage to let her dad know breakfast is ready, to laugh at her special woo woo woo sound she makes to get his attention because the garage door is closed, to feel my heart swell with love for her as she comes running back so proud that she got his attention.
To be present with the fun of cutting vegetables on the cutting board, not just because of the enjoyment of preparing to cook something tasty, but because I am in anticipation that soon Kutana will either be peeking around the corner of the cupboard or inches from my hip certain one of the vegetables is a slice of carrot with her name on it. To feel my heart surge with love as I look into her expressive eyes staring from me to the carrot to me with a mixture of excitement and gratitude.
To voice I love you to those in my life I am blessed to have filling my heart with the knowing of what love feels like. To be the recipient of their love. To be the giver of mine.
My pauses are happening more and more as many people are experiencing loss in one form or another. Or many.
The more that someone’s grief, pain, trauma, sorrow, or despair crosses my path, the more I feel my heart expand in love for all that has been and is my life.
My focus narrows to seeing all that is beautiful and breathtaking right in front of me.
I reflect on the wise words “you can’t take it with you” in reference to our material possessions when we reach our last breath. The one thing we do each take, though, is
How much we collected in our hearts.
In the words of Rumi, A breath of love can take you all the way to infinity.
And dancing dragonflies can remind us, life is
A beautiful flight.