Novelty, beauty, wonder and goodness
On keeping a heart filled with love
Pillows of fluff, puffy clouds tumbled across the sunset playing peek a boo with the sun. One moment everything was golden, the next monochromatic.
Horses and riders swirling around the outdoor arena. There were six riding in all. I sat there, on the bleachers, watching these incredibly talented, skilled riders manage the space and chaos together. They all were looking out for each other. All finding ways to make room. All seemed so pleased to trot and cantor and do all the horsey stuff that horse people do.
I was taken back to high school. Before I completely got the ‘on stage bug’ - before I knew that I was a performer, I spent my lunch times in the auditorium at my high school. I would lay on the floor, in between the seats and listen. The school choir would be rehearsing. I had no desire to join them. It was enough to soak in the beauty of incredible people doing wonderful things.
So it was on this night. I was content to merely be there, like a fly on the wall, taking in the beauty of the night.
The clouds, sunset and sky all continued their game of hide and seek. The horse people were riding. A barn cat was torturing a mouse. All was right with the world.
A class was taking place with two riders. One was an adult in her… well… I’m not certain how old she was. Likely around my age? Middle aged? A woman of a ‘certain age’? Not sure, this is dangerous territory. Back away fool.
The other in the class was definitely under ten years old. She looked tiny atop her steed. At one point, all of the other riders stopped riding. The little one was going to cantor. This wasn’t the first time she did it. But it was among the first.
Sixty or seventy pounds of little girl, atop of twelve hundred pounds of irrational, twitchy, neurotic muscle. She went into a corner, asked for the cantor, then held on. Her eyes, like the twin moons of Tatoonie, lit up the night. Joy, excitement, terror and a sense of capability, agency and flow flooded the rider.
We all were sore from grinning. It was such a sublime delight to have been a witness to this moment. It was as though the rider was falling in love with her horse, riding, herself and the entire universe all at once. It was a perfect moment.
Eventually the crowd began to thin out. Most of the riders brought their mounts back to the barn for grooming and treats. Another rider entered the ring.
I remarked on the beauty of the night. She laughed and said that the novelty eventually will wear off.
Novelty always wears off. In any activity, endeavour or relationship, novelty is always there at the beginning. Novelty provides the endorphin filled rush that gets us hooked on a project, an activity and even a person.
I’m middle aged. Nearly fifty. I’ve done a lot of things. Novelty, without air travel (which I do not like), doesn’t come up very frequently for me.
I’ve been married for quite a while. There’s not a lot of novelty there either.
Pleasure and joy beyond novelty exists.
And it takes effort.
It’s easy to see life as a chore. It’s easy to overlook things we’ve looked at a thousand times. The default mode network in our brains helps us cruise through life.
But novelty is always there within the every day, within the ordinary.
Novelty exists when we can connect with the fact that only once will the sun blast it’s cosmic, golden goodness on a palomino pony cantering around a dust field on a hill beside the ocean in this particular way. Every day is different. Every moment, every sunset, every gust of wind, wave and breath are all an opportunity to connect with the reality that every ‘now’ we enjoy is one we can never have again.
Every ‘now’ we experience is both a blessing - Oh wow! this is amazing! and a loss - it will never be EXACTLY like this again.
This may be one of the blessings of middle age. Beauty and joy can be found in a moment. Novelty has become less about blowing things up or traveling to an ashram. Novelty is all around us.
It just takes a moment to find.
So, here’s your challenge from this middle aged fool: Go watch the sunset. Pay attention to the air.
Come back here to this post and tell me about it.