I stood transfixed on the lanai, watching a river otter cavort on the opposite bank of the small pond behind my rented condo. It rolled on its back in the grass, stood up, then threw itself down and rolled some more before finally slinking back into the water and swimming away.
Now I don’t know if otters feel joy; I kind of doubt it. For all I know, its back was itching and that’s how otters scratch. But that creature was so playful and unguarded, so totally in the moment, I couldn’t help but smile.
I’ve felt the same pleasure watching dolphins frolic alongside a boat or kayak. They leap out of the water with those ubiquitous grins and seem for all the world to be truly enjoying themselves. Are they? I don’t know, but something about them makes my spirit soar. Continue reading Choosing to gulp, not sip
I’ve been told I must have “talk to me” tattooed on my forehead in a type of ink easily visible to the lonely. It must be true because apparently Karen (not her real name) could read it.
It was only about a ten minute ride on the water taxi from the marina to the beach, but that was long enough. By the time we got off the pontoon boat, I knew Karen’s entire story: Where she’s lived for all 41 years of her marriage, how much she paid for her last three houses, the nature of her latest ailment, what she and her husband disagree about, the names and ages of each of her grandchildren, and … well, you get my drift. Me, a complete stranger.
The next day I went to an outdoor art festival with two friends. As I browsed the jewelry booth, a nearby shopper found earrings to match the necklace she was admiring. To my casual comment, “Must be your lucky day!”, she blurted out that she could use some good luck; her husband had died unexpectedly last week of a massive heart attack. She said she had come to the art festival hoping for a distraction from her crushing grief. Stunned, I touched her arm as I told her how sorry I was, my voice cracking. Again, I was a complete stranger. Continue reading People are starving – and not for food