Monday, June 30, 2014

A fleeting moment of joy

“…but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid.”  ~ J.D. Salinger

Last night I had a rare moment of pure joy. It washed over me, filled me up with light and laughter, and was gone shortly thereafter, leaving behind a bittersweet regret that it had been so fleeting. It wasn’t brought on by a life changing event or momentous occasion, it was triggered by a very simple thing…a sunset.

Not just any sunset, but the kind that only come in summer, when the sky is painted in hues so glorious you could swear they were alive. Crimsons and pinks tinged with apricot, golden rays of sunlight that made the very air seem to thicken, like honey poured across the sky and tinted with the fruits of the season. Hills, plum purple and shadowy blue, carved dark lines across the horizon, and for one perfect moment, the entire world was still.

It reminded me of the trail rides my dad and I used to take on long summer nights, always ending with an adrenaline boosting gallop up a steep hill, climbing into the last rays of the sunset as our horses raced each other up the sloop, sending gravel flying and both of us laughing all the way to the top. Memories of lying out in the backyard, watching the sun go down and the stars come out in impossible numbers. My parents, my brother and I all sprawled out in the grass, ignoring the mosquitoes and just drinking in the night breeze, warm and smelling of freshly mown grass and mosquito repellant, as we watched for shooting stars and satellites.

That was my moment of joy: a mosaic of summertime moments so vivid for a little while I was transported off my condo’s balcony and back to my childhood. The spell didn’t hold though, and before too long I was back on the deck, the memories fading as the night spilled across the sky.

If there’s a heaven, then I think I caught a glimpse of it last night. It certainly felt like it.