What if all we woke up with were the things we’d expressed gratitude for the day before? I remember reading this a couple of years ago and being really struck by it. The concept has stayed with me ever since.

Another source suggested mindfully noticing when something, however simple, shines a ray of unexpected happiness into your life. And taking a moment to feel inside yourself, “That’s pleasant. That’s pleasing. Thank you for showing up for me.”

With some tendencies toward perfectionism and low-level depression that I’ve had to learn (and continue to learn) to manage, I pay attention to advice like that. It helps me.

Often, it’s because of something in nature that I find myself filled with delight. (And I like being filled with delight. Which is one of the reasons I garden to invite more of those moments to unfold. I like living in my own little nature preserve.)

So, I thought it would be fun to create a little roundup of some of those moments. Maybe one of them will spark joy for you, too. 😊

The Evening Concert

I love lying in bed with the window cracked open, falling asleep to the song of the crickets. But the other night, the whinnying of a screech owl floated in, too. I love knowing we have owls (or at least one owl!) in the neighborhood. I love it enough that it makes me want to hug myself with happiness.

The Hawthorn Tree

The hawthorn tree looks so beautiful outside my office window, bathed in the morning sun and chock-a-block full of blushing berries. I love knowing that from the bee-smothered blossoms of May (which have their own beauty) comes this.

And then this:

And then this (cedar waxwings having breakfast on a foggy morning):

If you want a tree with four-season interest, definitely consider a hawthorn.

Asters and Goldenrod and Monarchs and Milkweed

I’ve heard asters called farewell-summers and I love that romantic-sounding name. I love the color that the asters and goldenrod spill across the landscape as the air grows crisp and the nights grow cool. The banquet that they spread for bees and migrating monarchs as the growing season draws to a close makes me happy.

I love it when I’m beavering away at my day job and look up just in time to see a monarch butterfly flitter past my office window.

And it seems appropriate in a wholly satisfying way that the milkweed pods are starting to split and release their seeds to the wind just as the monarchs, who depend on milkweed to feed their young, are on their way south.  Sigh of happiness: Milkweed seeds, with their fluffy parachutes, floating alongside fluttering monarchs.

This particular butterfly was photographed on a bright-pink New England aster in my mum’s garden.

Turning Leaves

Check out these sumacs blazing along the Mohawk Trail ( along MA Rte. 2). They just plain make my heart feel happy. 😊

If you’re ever in the area in the autumn, definitely check out Route 2. If you like gardening, not to be missed is the Bridge of Flowers. And if you happen to branch north through the Green Mountain National Forest and then west to a little place called Dorset Bakery for lunch, you won’t be sorry.

A Wood Frog

We had a family yard work day a few weeks ago and I posted myself in the bird hedge. There’s some mugwort in there creating an infestation. To be honest, it’s only this year that I learned what it was and that it’s invasive. So out it must go. (Public commitment being made here.)

Anyway, while I was chipping away at the not-so-fun (and still in process) task of removing it, some movement on the ground caught my eye. It turned out to be a little wood frog.

And right there, with a single hop, my entire work day was suddenly enlivened. I’m always happy when wildlife accepts the invitation to a new garden and it’s especially exciting when it’s something I’ve not seen before.

Isn’t it amazing how well it blends into the leaf litter?

Did you know that wood frogs are the only frogs that live north of the Arctic Circle? It’s true.

Closing Thoughts

Fields of flowers make me happy. Having the effect in miniature in my own garden makes me smile.

Getting to peek in at the doings of wildlife in my very own yard causes joy to blossom in my heart. (The squirrels and blue jays are very busy caching acorns here, there, and everywhere just now.)

The ever-changing sky, the parade of the seasons, the discovery of something new and interesting, the incredible elegance of the systems all around us that sustain life. These things intrigue me, fill me with wonder and appreciation, comfort me, release a gentle flood of joy.

And last but far from least are people who appreciate the same things, with whom I can share a smile that needs no words because it’s already filled with mutual understanding.

All of these offset the ugly, the distressing, the heavy weights.

I know which I want more of in my life.

What about you?

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