I don’t exactly know why, but it’s easier to write about pain. When the depression hits, it’s when writing helps the most, and it’s when I reach for the pen or the keyboard. Sometimes it gets posted; most times it remains private. But it does get written.
Joy is more elusive, both in life and in writing. There are precious few words that can capture laughter, or the feeling you get when the wind is blowing in your hair and you feel like you can fly.
But today, I had a good day. There isn’t anything world-changing about that, and in the light of the recent disasters in the news, it actually sounds frivolous and self-indulgent. But sometimes when tragedy dominates the horizon, redemption can be found in the little moments. And I had one of those moments today.
For the past week, I’ve been home with my family in the town where I grew up. I left Dumaguete for the summer, both to lick my wounds from a recent episode of depression and to gather strength and figure out my next step. It’s not something I usually do, wanting to prove that I can make it on my own. But this time, I knew I was right to come.
My mother loves to garden, and this summer the yard is in a riot of colors. So this afternoon, I took my 3-year-old cousin out to play in the sunshine. There was an unbelievable number of butterflies, and we walked around peering under leaves to look for caterpillars and cocoons. It was windy, and the breeze made a cotillion out of the bobbing pink and yellow flowers, with the flitting butterflies as their graceful partners. A fat orange kitten ran around excitedly chasing them.
And I was content. I refused to think about how fleeting the moment was, and how nothing in my future was figured out, and tried to go back to my childhood when a lifetime’s worth of daydreams could fit in a single afternoon. For now, all that mattered was the curious, happy, deeply beloved boy playing in the sun, the vivid loveliness of the day, and nothing else. We set up a folding bed in the shade, and with his precious, little-boy weight pressing against me, I allowed the hypnotic movement of the butterflies and the cheerful chatter of the birds in the siresas tree to lull us both to sleep.
When I woke up, the sight of the sleeping child beside me, smelling of sunshine and chocolate, felt like something indescribably profound…and healing. I thought, I want to remember this. So I tiptoed inside to get the digital camera, and took a few photos. Sometimes happiness comes with fireworks and fanfare, but at other times it’s as quiet as an afternoon nap in the garden with someone you love. Either way, it deserves to be celebrated.