August 30, 2017

Surprise! Moments of Joy Are Still Possible

This post was prompted by a moment that occurred on Saturday morning, August 19, a day when we finally had moderate temperatures and low humidity.

Our Founding Fathers made a lot of great decisions, but deciding to build the Nation's Capital on a swamp wasn't one of them. Our summer humidity drains me of energy, and each year gets worse. But this August, unlike most other months so far this year, will not go down in the record books as the hottest ever.

My energy level has been rising as the heat and humidity drop, so I can get back to the blog. In the coming months, I plan to write about death, dying, and my "final exit." But let's start on a happier note.

In my 70s and 80s, I've experienced moments when I'd spontaneously say to myself "I love my life!" These moments came more often in my 70s, before I received my Parkinson's disease diagnosis.

In addition to the "I love my life" moments, I've had a few occasions when I've had more intense experiences of joy that have felt actually physical. These moments have surprised me because they didn't occur in settings where such feelings might  be expected, such as when  I saw the Taj Mahal at dawn, or looked at Michelangelo's statue of David in  Florence for  the first time.

But one of those moments of special joy did occur while travelling abroad. It was near a place called "Scott's View" in the Scottish Borders. My pal Richard Cooper, whose flat in London was my "home away from home" during my many visits to the UK, loved the Borders. We drove up there often.

On this occasion, Richard pulled his car into a parking area near Scott's View. We sat without speaking at this spot overlooking the valley of the River Tweed, which is reputed to be one of Sir Walter Scott's favorite vistas. While taking in the view, we listened to Nina Simone sing

I Wish I Knew How It Feels To Be Free.

I often recall this special time with my pal Richard. A few of us still exchange emails reminiscing about Richard every April 22, Richard's birthday. It's been 17 years since Richard's suicide on May 3, 2000. When God closed Richard's door, She opened the window to Nepal for me.

Geez! I had no idea I'd end up here when I began this trip down Memory Lane.

Let's get back to the topic I started with -- those occasions when I've been suddenly, unexpectedly struck with a wave of happiness. The most memorable of  these incidents happened in a very mundane setting,. I was standing at the top of my driveway leading down to the garage.

It was late afternoon on a glorious autumn day, and I had just returned from an afternoon bike ride to Mt.Vernon. A regular biker, I'd made that trip many times and was stunned -- simply standing outside my house -- by the wave of happiness that hit me with such force that I feared losing my balance.

OK, back to the surge of joy I felt on the back porch on a recent Saturday morning. It began like so many other pleasant occasions with my housemates Nimesh, Bhawana and Nivah, their 18-month-old daughter. Nothing "special" happened.

Here's a photo I took of the family while I was sitting in the old rocking chair that everybody knows is reserved for me:

We had a nice breakfast prepared by Chef Nimesh, who creatively mixes his native Nepali cooking with the Western dishes he learned working in the kitchen of a restaurant in Ocean City, MD. I don't usually take pictures of my meals, but I did this time.

I mentioned in a recent post that I'm enjoying playing with Amazon's Echo and Dot, the voice-activated devices I can use to direct Alexa -- the virtual personal assistant -- to play music selections, make grocery and to-do lists, schedule pill reminders, and much more.

But we don't rely completely Amazon and Alexa. On the porch, we also have Google's Home, a similar device. When the family is gathered on the porch with Nivah, one of us will usually say "OK Google, play "Old McDonald had a Farm." If we wait too long to make that request, Nivah will point to the Google Home and say "E-I-E-I-O!" Old McDonald is Nivah's favorite on Google Home's collection of nursery rhyme songs.

That morning Nivah danced her way through several encores of her favorite song. Her dancing was great, but my video effort wasn't. Here's a video that Nivah's parents took a few days earlier.r

The next time it's 4am and I'm lying in bed feeling miserable and ready for a final exit, I hope I'll remember this particular Saturday morning.

1 comment:

Jim Contreras said...

Thank you for sharing your life. You have a very good way with words. Like all good literature;it makes me feel good when I read it. Looking forward to your final exit words. Remember, we must die.