It was summer again, for 2 days the last weekend: golden October. Simply amazing. I sat outside on the terrace, and it felt like August. Looking up, there was only blue sky. Then a field of rippled clouds passed through, and with it, 5 birds, flying in formation. Probably migrating. A bit later, I looked up again, and there was: a huge flock, definitely on migration course. Such an energy, in just some fleeting moments. I made a quick note to remember, and it turned into a smallstone:
Out of the blue: a field of rippled clouds,
& a huge flock of birds, southbound.
This vibe of sky directions.
Which made me remember January, this month of daily small stones and awareness of small moments. It’s a good reminder to look more for the richness of the days, especially with the shadow that currently lingers, and with the days that are now growing darker and shorter.
In the afternoon I "followed" the birds, and drove to the Alb plateau, and the road led through falling and dancing colored leaves. Such a feast of colors and season, with each moment highlighted by the sun. On the way, I stopped at the small “Buddha park”. Here’s a photo:
Actually, the place belongs to a landscape gardener, they leave it open on weekends for visitors to enjoy and visit. They have several statues there, and the most fancy trees. Walking along the paths feels like the place rather belongs to temple grounds, with its serene touch.
For the visit, I took a book along, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Ruben. I read it last year, and now picked it up again - it feels like the right time to revisit. The book offers practical reflections on happiness and habits, on things and moments, on what makes a day, and the different options we have to deal with things and situations.
It's also focusing on all those habits and situations that are part of busy modern life in a consumer world, where it is easy to lose focus. Here’s a quote from it, from the first chapter (here's more):
“I wasn't depressed and I wasn't having a midlife crisis, but I was suffering from midlife malaise. I had everything I could possibly want – yet I was failing to appreciate it. Bogged down in petty complaints and passing crises, weary of struggling with my own nature, I too often failed to comprehend the splendour of what I had.I didn't want to look back, at the end of my life or after some great catastrophe, and think, 'How happy I used to be then, if only I'd realised it.' In that moment I decided to dedicate a year to trying to be happier.Other people's radical happiness projects, such as Henry David Thoreau's move to Walden Pond or Elizabeth Gilbert's move to Italy, India and Indonesia, exhilarated me. But my project wasn't like that. I was an unadventurous soul, and I didn't want to undertake that kind of extraordinary change. More important, I didn't want to reject my life. I wanted to change my life without changing my life, by finding more happiness in my own kitchen.”
I really liked that last line: to change without change.Ruben also tries to figure out how happy moments can be enhanced, and comes up with this advice: "I realized that happiness has four stages. To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must first anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory. Any single happy experience can may be amplified or minimized, depending on how much attention you give it."
Which leads back to the idea of smallstones or photos: to be more aware of the little moments, to enjoy them, and to note them down - which means: to experience them more fully, find the right words / the right angle, turn them into a memory. And to revisit them.
Seen like that, both smallstones and photos are ways to capture the moments, and to share and revisit them.
And the colors of autumn: I came across this note in one of the photo friday blogs (here):
Autumn is a time of exuberant energy –
It’s quite zensational, in fact
Such a lovely, reflective wordplay.
Now, to revisit some of my own smallstones in this blog, and to take the time to notice new ones.