#287–Moments of joy . . .

I’m going to continue the theme of being positive and upbeat this week. During the pandemic I’m alone much of the time. I’ve missed meeting friends for lunch or dinner. And I haven’t had a real hug since my sister stayed with me last February. So, maybe these moments of joy are being felt more intensely by me than in normal times.

This Mourning Dove spent a couple hours on my upper deck. This was a first.

Unexpected encounters with birds

To me, birds are magical because they can fly. I am especially blown away by hummingbirds—the way they can fly backwards and stop in mid-air. Amazing!

The other day, I had cleaned and refilled the hummer feeder and was holding it in my hand before reaching up to hang it from its hook. A brilliantly colored and aggressive male Rufus Hummingbird was strafing my head and then took a break and sat on one of three perches on the feeder his tail brushing my hand. He promptly started feeding. I didn’t move. I didn’t want to break the spell. After a bit, he flew off but came back again and again. I stood there like a statue––mesmerized. This hummer was so close, so beautiful, so tiny.

This morning, I saw a Mourning Dove sitting on the railing of my upper deck. The dove sat there as if it were the most natural thing to do in the world. An hour later, the dove was still there. I see pairs of Mourning Doves regularly in the nearby trees but never before on the deck. I got my camera and took a bunch of photos. Then one of those aggressive Rufous started strafing the dove with an occasional mid-air stop to flare his tail. The dove seemed indifferent to the hummer. I was thrilled to be witness to this little drama.

Stretching yourself into creating something new is good for you and feels great.

The high of creating something new

It’s hard to explain, but when I finish creating something new, I get a real rush. This is true whether I’m working on a chapter of my book or a blog post. When I’ve written, revised, and tweaked to my heart’s content and feel it’s the best I can do, I feel great—better than any drug.

I found this was also true when I created my Haiku poems and my cards this past year. I hadn’t worked with Haiku in decades, and I had never created cards before. It’s exciting to stretch yourself and try something new. And when it works—it’s a real high, at least for me.

Certain foods create a zone of pure bliss

Warning! Do not disturb me when I’m eating my half grapefruit coated with a layer of sugar at breakfast time. I’m in the zone. Even though I eat a half grapefruit nearly every morning, the pleasure is there each time.

I go into a zone when consuming a chocolate soda.

I go into that same zone when I have a hot-fudge sundae. I had one the other day from Florence’s BJ’s Ice Cream. It was my reward for finishing all the edit for my book and getting it off to the publisher. It had been at least three years since my last sundae. I asked for extra hot fudge and extra nuts with two scoops of vanilla ice cream. And, of course, the whipped cream and cherry.  Oh, what a treat, what bliss. I enjoyed every bite.

I had the same reaction a couple of years ago when I went into Dewar’s Candy and Ice Cream in Bakersfield, California. It’s an old-fashioned soda fountain that I used to frequent when I was at Bakersfield College. Well, it’s still there. My sister, who lives in Bakersfield, and I went there a couple years ago when I was visiting. I ordered a chocolate soda, which also had whipped cream and a cherry. It was even better than I remembered. I went into the zone—yummy!

Soaking in my walk-in tub

Soaking in hot water in my walk-in tub is pure bliss.

I love the water jets and air jets but what I like best of all is just getting my neck and shoulders in the hot water and soaking. And it’s fun to almost disappear in the foam of bubbles created by the air jets when I add bubble bath. Then I sit up and read amongst the bubbles and hot water. It’s like playing hooky from any chores or responsibilities for an hour or so. It’s pure bliss.

Contact with far-away family and friends

Living in Oregon while my family and long-time friends live in California is hard. Any other year, I would’ve made two or three trips to California to see them. It’s what I’ve done every year since 2002. Well, my last trip to California was December 2019. I made none last year. Most years, I put about 12,000 miles on my car. In 2020, I put on less than 3,000. Not my normal year.

My sister and I at a Christmas party on my last trip to California in 2019.

So, when I receive an email or text or phone call from a far-away family member or friend, it really makes my day—makes my week! Each one, I cherish.

It’s these very diverse situations–––birdwatching, creating something new, zoning out while consuming favorite foods, the bliss of soaking in hot water, and hearing from special people in my life–– that are my moments of joy. And during the pandemic, these moments mean even more to me.

I wish you many moments of joy in 2021!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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