I have yet to unearth the perfect word to describe the kind of smile that comes helplessly, vulnerably, and delightfully to your lips when you least expect it. I love days joined by that sort of smile for it means it was a day well spent and well satisfying to my soul.
I think of myself as a relatively busy person, and so the gift of boredom during lazy summer days is well treasured. I find that the moments I have entirely and guiltlessly to myself are spent enjoying the best pursuits. It’s easy to be grateful for these summer experiences that prompt spontaneous smiling - perhaps that’s the best way to describe it. In dwelling on the approaching school year, I think I echo the sentiments of many in saying a dread of the approaching months has caused me to hold ever tighter to these last summer days.
And that is because I have unfortunately created a mindset that causes me to believe these sort of smilies to come less easily during the school year rather than acknowledging the root of the problem. I have attributed the best parts of my life to summer, contained it there in fact, rather than finding different but equal joys in the discovery of new experiences, people and knowledge or in the satisfaction that comes from solving a difficult problem or writing a challenging essay. And maybe when it is not so easy to delight in such things, I should be searching for gratitude for simpler things like seeing my friends every day and driving with my brother to school.
Summer was well needed, but I am looking forward to applying my rejuvenated soul to the task of finding joy in the ordinary business of school days. I know so many more delightfully spontaneous smiles are to come. :)
I am sitting aside a waterfall. It’s roaring does not deafen, but it is yet ever present. The high lilting of my sister’s voice travels even above the falls as the shadows of small creatures dance about my feet. The sharp flicks of fishing poles and antics of small children and shivers of aspen trees comprise only a small part of the complex web of movements surrounding me, and yet I am remarkably still. I cannot hear the gentle exhale of my breath, though I know it’s there.
In the green majesty that surrounds me, I am yet in wonder from such simple things as fingers and toes and the beautiful humans that stand just yards away. I am in awe of what it means to be alive and well and at peace.
- An excerpt from a recent journal entry while on vacation in beautiful Southern Colorado
I often giggle to myself reading my overdramatic, romantic fantasies that fill the pages of this small book that I apparently only write in when I am dwelling in emotional extremes, in this case, serenity. It is usually while I am doing something extraordinarily mundane like cleaning my room when I happen upon this book accidentally and the pages fall open to my eyes in a much different state of mind than when the pages themselves were written. I like to think it is an emotion akin to looking back at childhood pictures or remembering what your younger self found to be frightening. We look back at these younger or different versions of ourselves and laugh or perhaps cringe, but sometimes when I deeply think about it, journaling Claire has it right most of the time (though I certainly don’t know about childhood Claire).
While living in emotional extremes all the time certainly would not be healthy, why don’t we dwell in fleeting thoughts of serenity or joy or gratitude? I certainly spend way more time than I’d wish in murky feelings of regret or irritation, but how often am I stealing a few moments away to feel utterly at peace, devotedly content with myself and where I am? Not enough...
Summer is the most extraordinary time to dwell in serenity. I personally find the “Legends of the Fall” and other movie sound tracks (nerd alert, yes I’m aware) to be particularly serene and excellent background noise for contented thinking on a walk or simply sitting outside in my own backyard.
Serenity and joy and gratitude await you if only you take a few moments today to dwell in them... :)
Claire Crafts is a young author and aspiring poet from Southern California. She published her first novel, Trust the Wind, at the age of sixteen. She is currently pursuing new creative projects and hopes to publish again soon in the future. When not writing, Claire enjoys reading, practicing yoga, spending time with family and friends, and exploring positive psychology.