Joy. Or Shoveling Leaves.

Sunday morning in the park, I see a father and son standing in the fallen leaves under a big maple.

They are each holding yellow plastic shovels. The son comes up to his father’s knees. The shovel comes up to the son’s rib cage. With it, he starts to shovel the leaves. Mildly at first, then, seeing the upheaval he’s creating, wildly.

Without hesitation, the father joins, using a shovel the size of his forearm. Together, they shoot haphazard plumes of leaves up into the morning. They shout and they cheer and shovel more leaves.

Watching them, I – who have spent the morning planning out my week – realize that I haven’t prioritized joy. That in my serious, determined march forward, I’d given so little time to the things that leave us delighted.

The father and son run around under the leaves they’ve shoveled up. When those leaves fall, they shovel more.

Okay, I decide. This week, there will be Far Side cartoons, the West Side Story score again and again and loud, a call with my wild and irreverent friend, and space. Space for the delight that comes at us sideways, but is missed if we’re too hurried. This week, I will not be too busy to shovel leaves.

I leave the father and son where I found them. Under a big maple shooting haphazard plumes of joy up into the morning.

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