A Year of Small Joys


Day 1:

Crossing the back yard, warm Bermuda grass around my feet – out to the studio.

Day 2: Hot towel against my face – fresh laundry smell.
Day 3: Groundsman raking pine needles in slanted sunlight, clearing shaped spaces beneath the trees.
Day 4: Bird to fence, sounding off.  Try to spot him hidden there.
Day 5:         Hard day. Flattened. Whipped. Driving home, James McMurtry comes on the radio – Choctaw Bingo, band like a high-speed freight train…. yeah.
Day 6 A trawler off-shore, surreal so large, fresh sun illuminating its eastward planes.
Day 7:

Stepping out the front door, light rain - the first in it seems like months.

Sprinkles in my hair.

Steady, muted "shsssshhssshhhshssshhh" of the tires on wet pavement as we glide through the quiet neighborhood.

Asynchronous, sporadic spat of drops on the car roof stopped at the light.

Snare drum cadence going through heavier patches.

The empty patches.

Back and forth.

Startling rainbow - huge, radiant, its southern arc spreading into the ocean on my right.

Light like the Old Masters on buildings, hills, sea, mist...

Everywhere you turn - beauty.

Day 8: Project done.  Days before deadline.
Day 9: Crisp ironed shirt.
Day 10: Wake to bacon smell.  Familiar talk in the kitchen.
Day 11: At work, the lightness of knowing vacation starts tomorrow.
Day 12: Headin' to the airport.  Rock music, blue sky.
Day 13: Ursa Major a blazing tower on dark horizon. An hour before dawn in the western islands.
Day 14: Open my eyes in bed, motionless. Sky and ocean. Lines and lines and lines of waves rolling in.
Day 15: Scrambling eggs and making hash browns.  Sea breeze blowing in.
Day 16: Jungle trail run. Red dirt. Chickens. Mulch.
Day 17: Salt air.
Day 18: Market in the morning. No destination. For days.
Day 19: Wavesound.
Day 20: Hot tub.  Pacific in my eyes.
Day 21: Jagged island mountain, jade misted.
Day 22: Everybody in the kitchen. Everybody. Cooking and talking.
Day 23: Hike the jungle trail -- to the point bluff -- sweating.
Day 24: Hanalei pier...swingin' my feet...sippin' my beer.
Day 25: Transparent unbelievable turquoise.
Day 26: Yellow leaves on wet asphalt.
Day 27: Familiar things.
Day 28: Shampoo lather patterns on the shower floor.
Day 29: Dog running along the roadside path.
Day 30: Blue Mustang, Coast Highway.
Day 31:

That pothole fixed.

Good sunglasses.

Day 32: Spicy fragrance of pepper trees on this hot afternoon.
Day 33: Gazing straight up at a pale morning half moon.  Bird bisects the sky.
Day 34: Shaggy ponies.  Stable smell.
Day 35: Middle of the night, dreamy awareness of rain.  Spattered music on the roof and around the yard.
Day 36: Email queue cleared!
Day 37: James McMurtry singing "Just Us Kids".
Day 38:

Mid-morning run

In and out of cool shady stretches

Crunch sound - crossing dry pine needles

Brush sound on sandy pavement

Push-broom sound crossing grass

Day 39:

That old man and his push cart walking two old dogs in the morning

Sometimes one dog rides

Sometimes the other

Sometimes both.

Day 40: See the train in the station, loading passengers and soon to go.
Day 41:

Doves perched shoulder to shoulder along the high arm of the traffic light - 

Spectators as the morning swirls under them.

Day 42: Wet pavement smell.
Day 43: Walking up the gravel road after rain.
Day 44: Long quiet ride.  Just driving.
Day 45: The ponies flank to flank, leaning on each other, eyeing me walking up the driveway.
Day 46: Not having run out of milk in the morning.
Day 47: Train a'comin.
Day 48: Dog footprints in tar...a trail weaving along the sidewalk.
Day 49: Down the Grapevine, the 99 appears - a golden, glittering compass needle that splits the night straight north.
Day 50: A new grandson asleep on my right arm.
Day 51: Oatmeal with almond slivers and brown sugar.
Day 52: Up early in the morning on a day you don't have to be.  Leaning on the kitchen counter sipping coffee, boys waking up.
Day 53: Squadrons of quail sprinting across the road.
Day 54: Waking up deep in the night, in the middle hours, rolling over and back, glad that hours remain.
Day 55: Bad poetry sucks.  But, taken as an impulse, not as poetry, even bad poetry is ok.
Day 56: The sound of tires moving across smooth pavement still wet after rain - hhzhzzzzzhzzzzzzhzzzzzzz
Day 57: Precise line of the garden hose in a parabolic arc across the lawn.
Day 58: Saturday morning breakfast at my favorite hometown cafe.
Day 59: A slight variation in routine.
Day 60: Plenty of light in the bathroom after replacing the bulbs.
Day 61: Taking an alternate route to work.
Day 62:

Cruising quietly down Main Street before business opens doors, a solitary seagull gliding at 20 feet - 

head-on and centered perfectly between the buildings, aligned with the midstripe...like a jetliner landing.

Day 63: Hand-watering the lantanas, catching all five bushes in a single fan of spray.
Day 64: A shiny red Camaro in front of me at the light - bright as the morning.
Day 65: Up and out earlier than usual - different walkers on the street, different runners, different sky.
Day 66: Dog riding shotgun in the car next to mine smiles as they pass by.

Day 67:

Day 68:

Do-it-yourself replacement of that bad tail light on the Ford.

Sometimes in the midst of work turmoil, pausing, remembering, recoginizing this is small stuff.

Day 69: Guy at the bus stop in the morning doing deep knee bends while waiting for the bus.
Day 70: The day-starting glass of water - cold, lemon.
Day 71: Running an old familiar trail for the first time in a long time.  Fresh again.
Day 72: A cleared desk.
Day 73: Catching all the green lights.
Day 74: Doing a Grade 3 hill with runner's legs.
Day 75: The paint.  Right hue, viscosity and transparency.  The right brush stroke in the right place.
Day 76: Painting listening to the Brandenburg Concertos - as if 38 years had not gone by.
Day 77: Sicilian lemons.
Day 78: Grandson sitting in a cardboard box.  Happy with himself.
Day 79: Exhaustion after running.
Day 80: Big "WHUMPFF" sound from the roof where Tom and Romey are playing.  Following by Tom yelling "He did it hisself !"
Day 81: Vapor rising off the barbecue cover.
Day 82: Possum in a shambling hurry along the base of the fence crossing the back yard.
Day 83: Pedaling the beach cruiser an easy mile up the road for coffee.  Not at work.
Day 84: Light traffic day.
Day 85: The old guy with his old dogs.
Day 86: Small cup at the base of the floor-to-cieling window in our hallway - sign of a one and a half year old.
Day 87: A pleasant dream just before waking.
Day 88: Little girl's laughter in the restaurant.
Day 89: Getting the drawing right!
Day 90: In the midst of the chaos. take a minute...let it go.
Day 91: A blank mind.
Day 92: Whitecaps.
Day 93: The parts and the whole.
Day 94: Each and every thing moving.
Day 95: Goosebumps
Day 96: Perfect clean shave with a new blade.
Day 97: Smell of sage.
Day 98:

Little brown birds camoflaged among the eucalyptus leaves.

Day 99: Black crows on a bright green lawn.
Day 100: Someone strung a line of helium balloons, red and white, a floating ninety foot arc.
Day 101: Liking what you've got on.
Day 102: Surfers and stand-up paddle boarders - out there even in the rain.
Day 103: Dinner with friends.
Day 104: Remembering Mom and Dad.
Day 105: An unexpected day off work.
Day 106: A flag straight out.
Day 107: Deciphering the face of a new grandchild.  Who's that look like?  Where'd that come from?
Day 108: Smell of eucalyptus.
Day 109: Pristine landscape.  Layered.  Receding in atmospheric perspective.
Day 110: Paired jets overhead.
Day 111: The stretch of road they've been working on all year...paved overnite!  Wow!  Smooth new surface!
Day 112: Racing down the road on my bike.  Split the 20!
Day 113: No hurry.  No place I have to be today.
Day 114: Birds hoppin' around.
Day 115: Tang of lemon.
Day 116: Chevron formation of pelicans, frozen in mid air.
Day 117: One of those race walkers working out - scuttling down the road like an eager marionette.
Day 118: Wake up in the morning...look out the slatted window through tree branches...a star is framed.
Day 119: The bustle of the coffee shop.
Day 120: Smell of turpentine and linseed oil.
Day 121: Dog walking up from the beach.  In his mouth a piece of driftwood twice his own length.
Day 122:

Driving out of town at night, side by side with the slow moving train, its big windows like lanterns glowing from within.

In one, a figure backlit...silhouette of a man leaning forward, peering out.

Day 123: Sunlight and shadow defining buildings.
Day 124: Swooping through curves.
Day 125: A single ball, left like a sentinel on a playground...awaiting the return of kids.
Day 126: Noticing the "Four Sisters" palm trees - their hair's been cut.
Day 127: Witnessing the happiness of others.
Day 128: Afternoon on the patio drinking beer with friends.
Day 129: Train ride with kids.
Day 130: Running in the rain.
Day 131: A mess cleaned up.
Day 132: Smell of popcorn in the stairwell.
Day 133:

Midway on a long run, on the horizon a feather plume becomes a geyser

Broken water main sending a tower fifty feet high, three feet thick.  How many PSI is that?

Run alongside a new river running in the gulley beside the railroad tracks.

Day 134: Quiet in the office early.
Day 135: A clean driveway.
Day 136: Fat bird on a post, tail up and looking you straight in the eye.
Day 137: Window ten miles off glinting gold in the downing sun.
Day 138: Wow!  Fine old woodie - bright yellow, light grain side panels, whitewalls.
Day 139: Perfect wave.
Day 140: Playing cards with friends - Jack Daniels and laughing so hard it hurts.
Day 141: Cloud patterns on the hills - dappled sunlight and shadows.
Day 142: Car heater kicking in - warmth rising at my heels.
Day 143: The cries of seagulls not visible.
Day 144: Unbelievable!  An empty calendar at worl!  Will this last the day?  (It didn't...but nice for a little while.)
Day 145: Seeing an old guy I know (late 70s) I know, long-time runner, still out there doing it.
Day 146: A lizard skittering so fast you only hear it, and see the quivering leaves left in its wake.
Day 147: Midnight, heavy weather.  House wrapped in storm clouds, an envelope of wind and rain.
Day 148: Clouds like vanilla scoops on an ice cream cone.
Day 149:

Approaching an intersection, a skateboarder sprinting flat out to make the light...without pause,

at full speed and absolutely no break in stride, he slaps that skateboard down, leaps aboard and streaks across -

gone in a flash!

Day 150: Salt air.
Day 151: Cloud banks lying low in the valleys.  Making islands of the hill tops.

Day 152:

Ahhh.  Thursday.  The day before Friday.
Day 153: Six different ice creams.
Day 154: Two cats on a fence...their tails stirring slowly as they survey the yard.
Day 155: Sun going down.  Room going dark.
Day 156: Guessing right on the quick check-out lane.
Day 157:

Martha with her new power washer.  Power washing the house, power washing the bricks, power washing her car,

power washing the driveway...

Day 158: Getting my favorite parking place.
Day 159: Sitting on a bench in a small town not your own.  Sunny.  Warm.
Day 160: Just a day of small chores with Martha...seeing them done together.
Day 161:

Three roadwork guys. One bent over running some kind of saw or grinder on pavement, or maybe concrete.

Not much sound, really, coming through the car window but a storm of sparks like a Roman candle held

upside down against the road ricocheting all around his legs.

Day 162: That rubbery smell of a bike shop.
Day 163: Tingling scalp from one of those mentholated shampoos.
Day 164: Absence of tailgaters.
Day 165: A noisy house on a holiday and a quiet one afterwards.
Day 166: Rain in a sunny sky.
Day 167: Running today, jumped a snake.  A rattler.
Day 168: A small movie theater with Martha.  Crowd our age.
Day 169: Pedaling around on a Spring morning - bursts of color.
Day 170: Sawing. Hzzzhwick! azzhwick! uzzhwick! azzzhwick! hzzzhwick!
Day 171: In front of the refrigerator, this spill pattern that looks like a centipede.
Day 172: A touch in a dream.
Day 173: Early afternoon nap.  Low oscillating hum of the dishwasher...like a pulse.
Day 174: Roll the windows down, feel and smell the salty breeze.

Day 175:

Crow walking around the back yard, inspecting things.
Day 176: A freight train, sidetracked.  Four engines idling, punctuated by hisses, like a giant snake breathing.
Day 177: Sitting around on the front lawn in a beach chair, sipping on a beer.
Day 178: Turn on the radio - Ray Wylie Hubbard playing Kilowatts!
Day 179: No hurry.
Day 180: Run 16 miles, 9 with a broken hand.
Day 181: Wetsuited surfers sprinkled like pepper along the waveline.
Day 182: Wondering "What exactly does that lizard think?"
Day 183: Group discussion about everyone's top 5 books.  Top 5.  No exceptions.
Day 184: Woodpecker drum roll in the air.
Day 185: Suddenly the scent of Coppertone tanning oil - wafting back to days of sunny beaches.
Day 186: Pie for breakfast.
Day 187: Facing something that's kind of scary - and coming through it.
Day 188: Finding yourself singing...for no apparent reason.
Day 189: Remembering this vexing thing is no big deal.
Day 190: Application accepted!
Day 191: Getting rid of stuff you know you'll never need again.
Day 192: Three people napping.
Day 193: Sleep through the night - no dreams.
Day 194: Taking a leap!
Day 195: Uncrowded calendar.
Day 196: Sun-squinty eyes.
Day 197: Flipping your pillow in the middle of the night - getting the cool side.
Day 198: Doing a favor.
Day 199: Knowing you're almost done.
Day 200: People arriving.
Day 201: S'mores.
Day 202: Playground sounds.
Day 203: The shade sails floating gently up and down, breathing.
Day 204: Find an extra carton of milk in the refrigerator when you thought you were out!
Day 205: Up early watching the Roland Garros final.
Day 206: Your kid doing something just like you used to do it when you were a kid.
Day 207: Finding that lost thing you'd pretty much given up on.
Day 208: Work on a painting for hours, clean up, turn to look at the painting...and fresh eyes show you the way.
Day 209: Reading a book that is self-interrupting because it frequently makes you stop and think.
Day 210: Running, two squirrels talk smack at me as I glide by.
Day 211: Wake up at night, the clock reads 2:22.
Day 212: Rediscovering a favorite old piece of clothing.
Day 213: A good hat.
Day 214: Progress on the job.
Day 215: Just the right color.
Day 216: Watching, unobserved, the neighbor cat stalking silently across the lawn at dusk.
Day 217: Gin and tonic on a summer afternoon.
Day 218: Boysenberry pie.
Day 219: Pinot Noir.
Day 220: Building a really great castle out of blocks.
Day 221: Sitting out on the deck, soaking of the heat and the sound of the river.
Day 222: Heading home.
Day 223: Little kids at a public school.
Day 224: A clean house.
Day 225: A happy two year old.
Day 226: Anticipating a big event.
Day 227: Making unexpected discoveries in the painting while painting.
Day 228: Watching a funny kids' movie with a kid you love.
Day 229: Doing a helpful errand.
Day 230: Clean laundry.  The smell of it, the warmth, the folding.
Day 231: Dogs.
Day 232: Warm blanket.
Day 233: Good effort.
Day 234: An unexpected encounter with an old friend.
Day 235: Red ball.
Day 236: Hummingbirds at the feeder.
Day 237: Pinot Noir (again).
Day 238: Having time to kill.
Day 239: Meeting a deadline.
Day 240: Yellow bird, black wings.
Day 241: Yawn, stretch.
Day 242: Back scratch.
Day 243: Red leaf tumbling lightly down.
Day 244: Chocolate malt.
Day 245: Sweeping up.
Day 246: Singing.
Day 247: Preparing a canvas.
Day 248: A nap.
Day 249: Your own little rituals.
Day 250: Making the right gesture.
Day 251: Flights of geese.
Day 252: Exercising patience.
Day 253: Crickets at night.
Day 254: Warm towels.
Day 255: Dewy grass.
Day 256: Cooing of mourning doves.
Day 257: Thrust your leg outside the blankets in the middle of the night - cool air.
Day 258: View from the roof top.
Day 259: The every-time potential of a blank canvas.
Day 260: Maintaining a self-chosen discipline.
Day 261: Bees working.
Day 262: Jack Daniels on a plane.
Day 263: Seagull hovering six feet up, slowly up and down.
Day 264: Dragonflies like dive bombers into the jungled gully.
Day 265: Rippled glass in the window of an old cottage.
Day 266: Running a forest trail…the way eyes swivel sideways back at turns to pick up your following runner, keeping together.
Day 267: Marine fog making the island float.
Day 268: Trying to throw your wadded up athletic socks into your tennis shoes after the hitting and before the shower – it doesn’t matter if you get them in.
Day 269: Newly washed car.
Day 270: Team you're rooting for wins.
Day 271: Good haircut.
Day 272: Fresh air.
Day 273: Morning sounds.
Day 274: Letting it go by.
Day 275: Browsing the morning paper ( e or actual).
Day 276: Reading again a favorite book.
Day 277: An unexpected compliment.
Day 278: The infinite variety of faces.
Day 279: Dinner and a movie.
Day 280: Discussing the Biq Questions.
Day 281: Walking across the back yard at night, moist grass cool on bare feet.
Day 282: Finding your own thoughts materialized in the writing of another.
Day 283: A good old movie.
Day 284: A pyramid of peaches.
Day 285: Getting rid of a bunch of old junk.
Day 286:

Buying lemonade from neighborhood kids at their roadside stand.

Day 287: Hard shadows on the rocky trail, knife-edged and pitch black.
Day 288: Getting everthing lined up for tomorrow.
Day 289: Morning at the zoo.
Day 290: Pushing yourself.
Day 291: A really nice bathroom.
Day 292 Gin and tonic on the balcony in the heat.
Day 293: Wild turkeys.
Day 294: Developing skill enough to achieve most of what I want, though not all. (Yet.)
Day 295: Remembering what flying on the swingset was like.
Day 296: Ground coffee-spill on the white tile looks like a star field.
Day 297: Marching around the neighborhood with a smiley three-year old on my shoulders.
Day 298: Yoga during a rainstorm.  Wet sandals after.
Day 299: Cinnamon toast.
Day 300: British actors.  British television character development.
Day 301: Brenda Lee's Dum Dum song.
Day 302: Finding a new thing you like to do.
Day 303: Some quiet time.
Day 304: Trying a new food.
Day 305: Attire changing with the seasons.
Day 306: Cloud of Monarchs on lantana.
Day 307: A good arms-above-your-head, all out, full body stretch.
Day 308: 11:11
Day 309:

A bottle of Heiniken on the refrigerator shelf - gold in green.

Day 310: Chill and some mist in the morning.
Day 311: 14 lizards on my run.
Day 312: Sunlight between the trees.
Day 313: Friday night late - good single malt.
Day 314: Top of the driveway for the morning paper, a neighbor cat hails me. Crosses the street for a scratch between the shoulders the returns to his post.
Day 315: Behind the hedge, unseen neighbor kids' voices, playing.
Day 316: Sparkling apple cider
Day 317: Pup following me round.
Day 318: Water needling down.
Day 319: Just sitting, reading.
Day 320: Pang of leaving leavened by confidence in reunion.
Day 321: Haircut that got it right.
Day 322: A good memory popping up.
Day 323: Smooth, new-paved street.
Day 324: Slow steady evaporation of condensation after turning on the defroster.
Day 325: Shiny, reflective surface of parking lot pavement after rain.
Day 326: Half awake, roof-drumming rain sound.
Day 327: Warm afternoon, cold beer.
Day 328: Little shoes by the front door.
Day 329: Fan in a hot studio.
Day 330: Run straight up that mountain.  (A big hill, really.)
Day 331: Silver vertical con trail - an exclamation point in the sky!
Day 332: Huge, glorious jacaranda tree in full bloom.
Day 333: A mom out running with two teenage sons.
Day 334: At the top of the driveway, a walker coming from the south, a walker coming from the north, both 50 yards away.
Day 335: Seagull's call.
Day 336: First time out in new running shoes.
Day 337: Sitting on an old wooden bench at lunch time, high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific.
Day 338: Running today - clear my mind...clear my mind...clear my mind...
Day 339: Stormy ocean - whites and grays, chop and spray, gusty wind.
Day 340: A straight, white cloud.
Day 341:

Slipping on a favorite well-worn t shirt.

Day 342: Humming bird.
Day 343: Coffee
Day 344: Little birds hopping around.
Day 345:

A good tool.

Day 346:

Sound of kids playing.

Day 347: A quiet interlude.
Day 348: Smell of fast food.
Day 349: Unhurried morning with a book and magazines.
Day 350: Half awake at night, hearing the rain.
Day 351: Walking with the pup.
Day 352: Hot shower.
Day 353: Cheese enchiladas.
Day 354: Gin and tonic.  (Did I say that already?)
Day 355: Deciding no chores, project or work really needs to be done immediately.
Day 356:


Day 357: Home-grown tomatoes.
Day 358:

Completing the project with only one trip to the hardware store.

Day 359: Staying up late.
Day 360: Nap.
Day 361: A new blade in the razor.
Day 362: Palm trees trading places as I walk by.
Day 363: Bird chorus in our "African" trees at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm
Day 364: Fresh bloom on the Crape Myrtle
Day 365: Wind-sculpted micro dunes on the beach.