The little things

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Watching a puppy so happy and excited he can barely stay in his own skin

Feeling warm sun and a breeze on your face after a storm

The scent of honeysuckle wafting through the yard, mixed with new-mown hay and clover

The feeling of hitting a tennis ball exactly on the sweet spot of the racket

Hearing the birds greet the morning before the sun is visible

Feeling the presence of those animals I have lost over the years – seeing their shadows settle on my feet, only making way for one of the living dogs

The soft silky fur or a Berner – so unlike any other tactile experience, exuding peace and joy and unconditional love.

We call them the little things in life, but these are some of the things that make the difference between an ordinary existence and a life of joy.

My parents taught me to appreciate the little things. My sons gave me a chance to pass that wisdom to another generation. My dogs make sure I never let go of that wisdom.

This moment, right now, is all we have. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may happen as we expect it to but then again maybe not. Though we can plan for it, it will be gone again before we know it, and if we forget to pay attention, if we are so focused on other times, other places, other plans, we lose this moment and we can never reclaim it.

I would rather live with joy than exist with lots of plans.

A plan can’t turn the evening landscape into a performance of lightening bugs. A plan can’t appreciate the sweet crunch of a fresh-picked apple. We can do things now that might make those things possible later, as long as we don’t forget to enjoy the digging and planting and watering and watching the blossoms and the buds and the ever-ripening fruit.

Just as there is joy in watching a dog learn to play, learn to work, learn to trust, so there is joy in sometimes just letting those moments happen, without forcing or coaxing or pushing them, just laying some groundwork and trusting yourself and your dog.

The colors of the sunset today will be different from the colors yesterday or tomorrow. Absolutely lovely.

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