Ultimately, grief never “wins.” No matter how wrenching the loss, how impossible it feels to navigate the new territory of a world without our beloveds, joy always brings us back home. We are made for wonder, made for joy. And it will capture us for small moments, bringing us back to life.
The following are two little “happiness” moments that recently captured me.
A glorious walk this afternoon with Mary Lou and our dogs. We start out in sunny warmth, then smudgy glowering clouds roll in, spit snow and rain. The sky is a patchwork of light and dark. And the dogs are wild. Gatsby finds an old tennis ball, and rolls over and over and over it, his short 12-year-old legs pumping the air. He is having so much fun. And Bodi runs off through the fields and into woods, comes back much later licking his chops, having eaten something dead and disgusting. The dogs are old, but they can still have fun.
Mary Lou and I laugh at the vagaries of aging, so many things falling apart! We laugh at our cuckoo dogs who glory over disgusting things to eat, or old rotten tennis balls, getting as smelly as possible, and how much work it will be to clean them up.
The land is sear – the beaten grasses flaxen in a new and whipping wind – the hills sooty, the fields wide open. The dogs run as we laugh, chasing each other in loopy circles. All of us are crazed with the sheer beauty of it all. All of us are happy-wild.
Bodi and I walk out in the near-dark after sunset. There is still a tinge of light, but all the colors have bled out of this day. The road is silent under the starlit sky. Orion, the Dipper, Cassiopeia, the Pleiades hang overhead, waiting for the moon. The ragged winter-beaten grass crunches under our feet.
We feed the horses apples as the Great Moon slips above the horizon. There is no sound but us – the horses, huffing and crunching and stomping the ground; Bodi peeing on the fence post; my breath, puffing up toward the moon. Bodi and I walk back across the field in its light. It feels like swimming in silver.
I am just another animal, making my way through the silver-blue secrets of a big-moon night – the horses and Bodi and I, finding our way, watching our feet move over the colorless ground.
We are beheld, beloved and moon-blessed and stunned. What more could we want? What more could any of us want?