I understand now why some of the greatest authors, poets, and songwriters go to nature for their inspiration. To just sit here in the middle of it all, observing. Breathing. Hearing. Smiling.
I guess it's no coincidence that when I sit here thinking about what makes me happy and what makes me sad, they both involve animals. Nothing in this world saddens me more than animal cruelty. I'm a huge animal rescue advocate. I will never forget the day I brought Stella home and saved her from being killed. She has been the greatest addition to my life and has loved driving cross country with me during my moves. But hearing the stories of the unfortunate ones, the animals whose time "expired" -- it's just not right. In addition to all of the millions of pets without homes, there are the animals being ruthlessly killed around the world for their meat, milk, skin, fur, fat... you name it. The second I started watching the documentary Vegucated, I knew my life was being changed yet again. My heart breaks. I will always stand as a voice for the voiceless.
The loss of my mom will always sadden me, too. How it all happened in the blink of an eye. It turned our lives upside down and I've seen how it's changed us all forever. Seeing how quickly something can literally take over your entire body like that; how it can suck the life out of you in mere hours -- that changes the way you live. Yet, when you watch firsthand as your mother passes from this life into the next, you have to find happiness in the little things. I still wonder how I didn't just go off the deep end after she died. The waves of life kept hitting before I had enough time to come up for air.
So, you do the only thing you know how... You hold your breath and pray for the sea to level out just long enough for you to get back to the surface. And it's when you finally come up for air -- that's when everything is bolder in color. You feel the ripples in the water more defined than ever before. You feel yourself rise and fall with the constant bobbing of the ocean below you. You feel life all around you.
That said, it's in the little moments that I find happiness now. The moments at the start of the day as the sun peeks through the window and Stella reaches out her soft, little paw to touch my face as her way of saying "Good morning." The moments driving with the sunroof open as the wind dances through my hair and my favorite song bounces through the speakers. The moments of feeling butterflies jumping through my stomach after a surprisingly nice date. The moments of tasting the refreshing sweetness of a perfectly ripe pineapple after a hot, Summer day. The moments of comfort snuggled under a blanket with a steaming cup of smooth apple cider on a crisp, Fall evening.
Life is to be lived. Life is to be felt. And whether it's a moment of sadness or the endless opportunities for moments of happiness, I embrace life.