Fully Alive

A woman smiling holding a basket of eggs.

I feel sometimes like a collector. Waking up early, turning off the alarm before it has a chance to rip through the still morning, brewing coffee in a dark and sleeping kitchen, I pocket the treasure of being alive. The crunch of gravel beneath my feet and the way the mist hangs in suspension over the glass-surfaced pond makes me certain that He is God and that I am surely His beloved.

It’s all the little things, the million and the billion tiny things that make me know, without doubt, I am fully alive.

It is the gleam of a rainbow trout in the hands of my brother, the way he kisses it before gently lowering it back into the cool water of an Arkansas river. It is the light in Sweet Miah’s eyes after he makes a joke that causes me to choke on my drink, and the way he is both impossibly strong and intentionally tender. It is the way my dog loves chasing my shadow and the way that tomatoes harvested on an August afternoon taste like sunshine and summertime.

A butterfly on an orange flower.

I cannot imagine a life lived sleeping, bored to death and half dead anyway, caught up in expectations and competition with the Joneses, whoever they are. Did you know that lack starts in your mind? Did you know it is possible to run this race in competition with no one at all, that the plaque on your wall could be won by noting butterflies and opportunities to shine with kindness?

You may call it whimsy, and maybe it is, but maybe in finding beauty in the day-to-day, we never have to live overwhelmed by ugly. Sure, sadness comes, and grief will always have a place because where there is life, there is death also. But what if grief was the exquisite expression of delicious love with nowhere to go? What if deep, deep sadness was the black velvet that serves as the backdrop for diamonds to shine?

I don’t know many things, I learn new ones all the time, but I know that my pockets are full of simple moments and tiny glories, billions, and millions of them. I know that today a lunar moth the size of a man’s hand flew over me and I cried out, exclaiming its name, because what else could one do who is filled with wonder?

A willow tree next to two large greenhouses.

I wonder what would happen if cool grass on our feet made our hearts spill over with joy. If when we saw a bird swoop, we stopped in gratitude that by chance, we’d looked skyward at the exact right moment in time to witness it. Would we be made richer? Would our pockets be fuller with thanksgiving? Maybe so.

Maybe full pockets lead to generosity, and generosity leads to even greater richness. Did you know the bugs sing nearly as loudly at sunrise in the summer as they do at sunset? Did you know that the smell of horse sweat is good for the heart of a girl and that warm cow’s milk squeezed straight from the teat into a mug by a tiny hand, drunk with a splash of maple syrup is very, very good for a boy? Did you know that stars may very well sing a song when you gaze upon them long enough? I haven’t heard the song yet, but I haven’t stopped watching, and so far, I’ve seen galaxies and constellations and blazes of beauty tearing across the dark night sky.

I can’t give you directions to wonder, but I hope maybe you’ll believe me, it’s worth searching out. I don’t know how you catch it, if it’s like a flu bug, contagious in these words or like a garden, made by cultivation of shared seed. I don’t know, but I hope you find it. I hope you collect all the wonderful things by the millions and billions until your pockets bulge with beauty and you are fully, wholly, completely alive.

Window greenhouse surrounded by a cottage garden.
I want to share this beautiful life with others and teach them the lessons we've learned along the way. Welcome to Roots and Refuge, friend. I am so glad you're here.

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