Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Simple Joy of Soap

As I'm getting to the end of the slip of the old soap, conscientiously stretching it for one more day, I'm eagerly waiting to open the new bar of soap, all crisply wrapped up in a fresh paper box, stealing sniffs of it whenever I open the closet for something else.

Finally, tonight's the night. A long day of being outdoors, open to the sun, the winds and the earth, which was lovely while it lasted, but by the end of the day, I'm longing for bath and bed. I lovingly open my paper box, gently pry out the creamy concoction, step into the shower, cradling the soft soap in both hands. The pleasure of hot water on a tired body, the slippery scented soap on skin, and the deep rosy perfume that filled the bathroom - oh I can't stop smiling!

I know - it's just soap. Everyone else is talking about consciousness and the cosmos - but I can't really touch and feel those words. And after all, isn't joy a way of experiencing consciousness in this moment? Or maybe it's the other way around - consciousness is experiencing a moment of joy. Whatever it may be, when the universe is showering (I wasn't planning a pun!) me with so much joy, who am I to question its source? A bar of soap, the scent of a rose, the feel of warm water on bare skin - joy, pure joy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Moment of Awe up in the Air

Just back from Cleveland where my sister and I went for a cousin's wedding party. Even though I've flown at least a few dozen times in an airplane on various visits and trips, I still dislike flying - the sickness in my stomach, the cramped seats, the stifling contained air, not to mention long layovers and even longer security checks. Also, in this day and age when traveling is routine for business and pleasure, everyone, including me, has become more or less a jaded traveler, immune to the experience of flying like a bird. So it was a lovely surprise having an unexpected moment of awe up in the air on my return flight.

I picked a window seat right above the right wing of the plane. My view, while we were getting ready to take off was of the 4-blade propeller slowly whipping itself up into a whir like that of a hummingbird's wings. We cruised to the head of the runway and paused, almost like a kingfisher on a branch, taking a breath before swooping down for a silvery fish. That pause joshed me into the present as well, readying me for a sacred moment. And then it happened - the wheels lifted off the ground, the great plane rose up gently, making its way up, up, and up in the air, slowly withdrawing its legs and wheels and folding them away for later. I felt like I was flying on the wings of an albatross, watching its skinny but steely legs lifting off, its haunches folding, tucking its legs and feet in neatly, its body prepared for flight. As the nose of the plane parted its way through the wisps of fleecy clouds, it seemed like the albatross was blinking its eyes against the blinding breezes and the clouds, firmly determined to make its way through the cloud cover until it could see the brilliant sun above. I blinked back my own surprise tears when I realized some fell on my forearm, which brought me back to the earthly plane again, of the buzz of people's voices, the pings of the seatbelt-off signs, and the rattle of the stewardess's bar cart down the aisle.

For those few moments though, I felt like I was one with the flight of the albatross, fearlessly leaving behind the fuss and mess of the material world, and facing only forward, to carry out the mission of this flight - to seek the shiny sun in the sacred blue heavens above.