A random collection of encounters that have made me smile:
Smile 1: Today the college where I teach had a special event for which the faculty was required to wear full academic regalia. We lined up outside one of the buildings in our black robes and caps, assembling for the formal procession. On the railing of the building’s ramp, an equally impressive assembly of flies gathered, matching or exceeding our numbers. I’d never seen so many in one place with no apparent attraction—no food, no late unfortunate animals—just a black iron railing. They looked like an alternate version of us, pompous little goggle-eyed professors from some insect university, preparing for their own convocation.
Smile 2: I remember sitting at an outdoor table at the Cerrillos Whole Foods, getting directions to a hiking place from a stranger I was sharing a table with, and a young man walked by, saying aloud to all who could hear, “Another beautiful day in Santa Fe! Can you stand it?”
Smile 3: I overheard this line during an outdoor concert at the Railyard, spoken a lean, intense, green-eyed man with a little straw hat that turned up at the front: “It hit me—I’m almost fifty. The second half of my life is going to be about exercise and stress reduction.” He seemed elated as he told his friends this profound discovery, and shared the even more amazing fact that he’d talked to other people who’d had the same revelation. What I liked was that he called it the second half of his life. Now that’s an optimist.
Smile 4: The following graffiti were all on the same stall wall (in Santa Fe, of course, where else):
(An Om symbol) Just Breathe
Think—while it’s still legal
A good deed brightens a dark world.
Walk as if your feet were kissing the earth.
Sometimes I walk around with a huge smile on my face just because I’m alive and seeing the sky and breathing the air. My feet are kissing the earth. Sometimes I get bogged down in my to-do list and have to do something to remind myself to smile. Today, being satirized by the flies did the trick. I won’t brighten a dark world by taking myself too seriously.