If you are allergic to joy, please click away from this post immediately, for I am aiming to share mine. The following words may trigger various emotions if you are susceptible! If you can handle gentle and good feelings, read on!
Finding My Joy Theme
For months I have been wanting to blog more but have been unsure of the best theme as I expand from promoting my Nurture Yourself First book and earlier e-book, The Power of Personal Peace. I also wanted to move beyond coaching and counseling approaches to a more personal and authentic sharing of myself.
But my interests are wide ranging and I could not settle on a theme. Personal growth with a different twist? Recipes since I adore cooking? Household tips since I love sharing how-to information that works for me? Spiritual reflections? Psychological insights? Interviews with my fascinating friends who also own fabulous greyhounds? Comments from amazing folks all over Kansas as I make day trips to out of the way spots? Faces of living love? Awesome non-profit staff and volunteers I have met? Vignettes from my life story?
I have fretted and asked inwardly for months, what to do next to use my gifts and talents, hopefully as a writer. This morning I got it. The theme for my blog will be my Joy Journal. Simple, umbrella-like. Whatever brings me joy is fair game here.
Actually quite often, I find a quiet joy, a fulfilling satisfaction, a contentment, in most everything I do, from spreading up the bed and setting my royal red comforter in its spot on my side, to dunking my hands in warm sudsy water to finish dishes in the evening. Well, maybe not in vacuuming. Until I am happy it is done for another month!
Share Your Joys with Me
Come along for the ride! Share your joys with me! In this time on our planet, focusing on joy can help us stay balanced. And if our joys are a little crazy, they can keep us from going insane! Add a comment and have a conversation.
Back to today.
Today's Joy: A Planned Adventure
Today, my joy time was all day, marked on my calendar for a self-nurturing getaway. I set out on another jaunt across rural Kansas, heading southwest from Wichita, aiming for Clark County, almost three hours out Highway 54.
Lost in Fog
As soon as I turned west, fog enveloped the landscape. I could see about 100 yards, just enough to be safe. Crossing two branches of the Ninnescah River, I noted dense, scraggly trees not yet dressed for summer, wrapped snugly in heavy grey mist. Distant woods, their top branches lost in fog, teased my imagination. What creatures hid there? What squirrels, deer, raccoons, foxes, or coyotes slunk or scurried or ambled amongst these woods at dawn and dusk?
No horizon beckoned. Barely discernible budding tree tops smudged my distant view. Spreading branches blended with the foggy sky. Peace descended with the blanket of mist. I drove in a bubble defined by my vision, mainly the next hundred yards of pavement. The water-logged air muted colors, resized my perceptions, and snuggled my travel into a soft cocoon of wait-a-minute, slow down, nothing really going on here now.
It was a good beginning.
After an hour, patches of sun infiltrated the fog, warming, lightening, clearing. Suddenly undulating hills surrounded me and the fog gave way to glorious sun! The soft swoosh of my wheels on the highway, the smooth sounds of the engine continued as usual, but my world burst open!
Detour in Greensburg
Noting several small but colorful signs for Greensburg, Home of the World’s Largest Hand Dug Well, I watched for said well while I cruised through this hamlet. An official brown marker pointed left, Largest Well, Three Blocks. I could detour for that!
I found a lovely new museum housing the well. After a short chat with the receptionist, I paid $6 and went in to see for myself. The well, dug in 1887 to serve the whole town, is 32 feet across and 109 feet deep, lined with massive stones from a quarry 12 miles south. It turned into a tourist attraction in 1927 when authorities banned open wells. I did not climb down the 109 stairs into the well, since I do well to manage 76 stairs at Century II in Wichita. But I snapped one photo from the top.
Then I read the walls. History, cool. Laborers with picks and shovels paid fifty cents a day. Yeah, yeah. Neat stuff. Then there was 2007.
In May, 2007, a tornado blitzed the entire town. Demolished it. Wiped it out. Homes of 1000 people nothing but rubble. Cars looked jackhammered. Twelve people died. About 500 left, never to return.
The rest rebuilt. They pulled together. They helped one another. They thought carefully about how to create a new Greensburg. They chose to make it a green town, purposefully incorporating sustainable energy and water use. Greensburg is now a model city, a small but vital prototype for using at least thirty percent less energy in buildings. The new town is appealing and attractive, from the graceful city buildings to the simple up to date homes.
I talked again with the receptionist. She and her son survived the tornado huddled in the hall of a two bedroom house. They thought they would lose their lives that day. Now they talk about Before and After 2007.
When I left, tears flooded up, so I had to pull to the curb by the new City Hall. Deeply touched by the hope and purpose of the residents of Greensburg, I spoke several prayers for this amazing town and its people. What a story. My joy came watered with tears of gratitude for the resilience and thoughtful persistence of the people of Greensburg.
Peace, Joy and Wind
Finally, I reached my destination, the Big Basin Prairie Preserve, home to a bunch of buffalo. I wanted to see some buffalo! Thankful for my reliable Honda CRV, I drove over a mile on a one-lane gravel road to a point overlooking the basin.
I stopped a few times to snap buffalo in the distance – way in the distance. If I enlarge my pictures to the max, I can tell the critters are eating and resting. Ah, well. This means I will need to come back. Or stop at a farm two miles from home and ask to photograph their bison up close.
And then I found St. Jacob’s Well, which reportedly never runs dry. I peered down the cliff and contemplated the walk down. I have dealt with heart issues recently, so since I was alone except for distant bison, I did not climb down the primitive trail to the well.
I enjoyed the peace, the tawny colors of spring not yet sprung, the creak and turning of an old fashioned windmill. Sun warmed my face, wind reminded me of winter just past. And the wind never stopped shshshushing past my ears.
Joy of Being Alive
Prairie winds taught me the meaning of alive. The cattle guard at entry and exit moaned with each gust. High on the overlook to the ancient basin, three foot high red prairie grasses leaned low with the wind. Opening my car door against the wind was an effort. Then that hefty prairie wind buffeted me, shaking my cell phone every half-second. If photos are blurry, that is why. I learned why so many prairie ranches boast mature cedar windbreaks on all sides of the homestead. I felt invigorated, enthused, alive. Happy to be out here. Quietly, triumphantly joyful.
I made a few short stops on the way home, but most of my thoughts and notes were about the novel I am birthing. Perhaps I will say more about that later. Not yet!
More day trips to come. Kansas is full of rich but little known treasures. I anticipate more quietly joyful explorations.