There was a full moon last night. I watched it slowly rise above the distant hills and thick tree line while I wandered around the streets by my home. It will still appear full tonight, but with the low, dark clouds there is only a small chance that I can catch a glimpse once more.
Early last week I went for a quick run to the beach. I hadn't done any form of physical activity, with the exception of rolling out of bed (literally...our mattress is on the floor) and walking, due to over a month of stupid foot injuries. (I kicked driftwood barefoot then bruised my heal from jumping across a tiny creek on the beach followed by bruising the top of my foot with a surfboard fin.) My feet still hurt, but it was a relief to move, if even a little.
As I headed down the road on that brisk, drizzly afternoon my eyes caught a flash of bright yellow amidst the dull dead colors that are the remnants of winter before spring. Standing boldly by itself in a dead grassy corner at the edge of an open space was one daffodil plant, with one blooming daffodil. It felt like a tiny, beautiful gift that no one knew about except for me. The yellow warmed my heart and gave me a spark of joy that felt unfamiliar, yet comforting.
Joy is something that I miss. The uninhibited burst of lightness and ease expressing itself through belly laughter or a spring in my step or a gentle, unforced smile. It is that deep, internal settledness, knowing that despite exterior circumstances, life within abounds, roots remain strong though seasons may wither the leaves and strip the branches.
Happiness and joy are often interchanged, although different. Happiness is temporary and joy is, well truthfully, eternal, if cultivated. Happiness is dependent upon, while joy is independent of. Happiness is definable and joy revels in its mystery.
There have been many, many moments of happiness in my life and I am ever so grateful for them. However, as time has gone on, years have passed and worked away layers, exposing me to the raw elements, the lines between happiness and joy have become blurred from a desperation to simply survive. In my need for survival, I have clung to moments of happiness in their provisional promises, desperate to hold on as long as possible knowing that it would be an undisclosed amount of muddling through the valley before even the option of a peak would present itself.
Happiness tends to only be found at the peaks. Joy can be found in the valleys.
And that is something that I had forgotten, until the rising.
The rising moon.
The rising daffodil.
The resilient moon.
The resilient daffodil.
In season, they rise.
So shall you.
So shall I.