Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Laughter Spills Out

I hope today you laugh.

Not because you forced it, but because levity assembled itself around you, surprising your weary self and pulling out joy where the sun couldn’t get in.  Laughter is a stealth ally, showing up when you least expect it and most need it.

I hope you laugh because something strikes you funny and mostly because laughter releases light and hope into the world. You may experience a superb, surprising belly laugh interrupting the quietness of your own home -- but still, you've changed the quality of the air and charged it with happiness particles.

I hope today you laugh.

Maybe, if you're especially blessed, you'll witness a baby giggle and just watching that pure bubbling delight will pull out the giggle in your own gut. Humor sends out a message: Life is hard but I have this moment, and right now it's joy that occupies this space.

Pure, unapologetic joy.

I hope today you laugh.

May the ironic, the ridiculous, the just-plain-silly -- grab you by the shoulder and invite you in. I hope you'll laugh out loud in the grocery line. In traffic with your window down. With a friend at lunch. Next to a stranger in the waiting room. Waiting rooms, especially, need the infusion of laughter.

I hope today you'll laugh.

Have you noticed? When you pass by a room full of mirth, it pours out of the walls and windows like so much sunshine, spreading warmth over everyone in its path. Smiles will curl up on worried faces and laughter will escape, even from unpracticed throats; it's just contagious. Even the slightest murmur reaches heaven.

I hope today you laugh.

Not the manufactured stuff of sit-com tracks, but the genuine, belly-jiggling, side-splitting, absolutely irresistible music of your own voice letting out joy. Laughter around the dinner table is a particularly welcome gift. It bursts into the room like a beloved guest. You want it to stay all evening.

Laughter is medicine for the soul, affirmation for the doubter, a pocket of peace for the worry-worn, an embrace for the desolate.
Release it into the waiting world, a world that offers up countless wonders and comedic creatures; a world that softens the raggedy edges with a sense of the outrageous, the frivolous, the offbeat wackiness. A world that needs more goofy and less grumpy. More lightheartedness and less weightiness.
The universe grows smaller and more inviting when two souls share a joke, a smile, a rare splendid moment.

I hope today you laugh.

Distractions will tug on your sleeve, bills will cry out to be paid, deadlines will shadow you, appliances will quit, people will drive like idiots. Still, there will be moments. Show up for them. You won't be sorry; neither will the people who need to hear your voice chortling out the music -- the off-key, blessed, bursting and brave music -- of laughter.

As seen in the April 2024 edition of Silver Magazine
The Post-Journal & Warren Times Observer

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Stuck in the Not Yet


So here we are:  A familiar wedging in that middle-season that follows Winter and precedes the eruption of Spring – we are stuck in the Not Yet. It’s a big improvement over snow, ice and plunging temperatures, but it’s not quite where we’d like to be.

It’s the Season of the Not Yet.
We are slogging about in this interlude of mud, still-bare trees, jacket weather and grit.

If you think of it as a canvas, though, the world is a muted landscape just waiting for some splashes of color. A hint of early green, a blush of Possibility.

Our view right now is a landscape of muddy edges, watery sleeping fields, unadorned woods and windswept, unruly lawns.

Hiding underneath all that is a dramatic spectacle. It will emerge in bits and breaths until one day the curtain rises on a grand production of color and light and birdsong.

Spring has arrived on the calendar but it’s barely visible in our view. Even so, it's busy maneuvering behind the scenes. While we bustle about and switch ice scrapers for umbrellas, a mighty army of bulbs and seedlings are nudging the waiting earth.

While we complain about the rain and how badly our car needs a good washing, the quietest velvet of early-green arrives on silent knowing branches.

While we dig out mud boots and walk the dog and pay the bills and whine about the cavernous potholes, the soil is quivering and maybe the earth is laughing as it gathers momentum for the Bursting Forth of Glory.

Soon enough, we will look up and notice an unfurled leaf, an affirmation that warmer days are really starting to settle in. We'll step out into the day and feel, instead of a slap of cold wind, the beguiling whisper of a Southern Zephyr on our upturned faces.  

On cue and when we are bone-weary, we will become the hushed audience before the downbeat.

Let the Overture begin.

Mesmerized, we will finally look around.

"Hey! Did you see my tulips this year? They're amazing!" you will say to anyone, everyone.

"Wow! You should take a drive up the hill - the forsythia are the yellowist yellow I've EVER seen!" "My neighbor's daffodils are having a national convention! Man! They're all the way past the driveway into the back field! Come and see!"

And so it goes.

We, you and I, make this oh-so-subtle shift from the whine to the wow.

From the blasé to the blown-away.

From glum to giddy.

The canvas has become a spectacle of light and warmth and every hue of vivid color. The Not Yet is crossing the fence and scampering headlong into Spring and there is no turning back.

The music of peepers and birds and neighborly greetings merge into one boisterous Symphony.

Pretty soon we'll be complaining about the grass growing too fast and the pesky dandelions taking over. Oh, we are a silly unbridled bunch, blithely unaware sometimes, of our own leafy newness.

In spite of our limited vision, we have managed to find an underground, wiggly strength.

Our canvas too, which was briefly mired in the Not Yet, is now warm and radiant and painted with Possibility and Life.

Settle in, take a breath, and don't miss the Overture.