Chasing Down The Muse: Joy comes in big and small moments

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Add in sun-drenched days filled with birdsong and hillsides covered in green. More than just a few of my favorite things, these glories make up parts of the fullness of life.

Rain falls on the roof as I sit in the early morning darkness counting my blessings. Lately, I've been wearing a lot of hats and juggling time to get everything done. These "wee" hours are peaceful bits that feel all mine and I love them. Small sounds are magnified in the relative lack of sound. The swish of tires on the wet street, the thunk of a newspaper delivery, even the beeping of a neighbor's morning wake-up alarm — all these are the often un-noticed sounds of life starting up for the day. I cannot help finding myself thinking once again of the many small things that make for a rich and full existence.

Even the unexpected pleasure of daughter Jenna showing up here last night to stay over is a part of life's zest. Her broken water heater might be a challenge for her, but the opportunity to have some time to spend with her is one of those "favorite things" for me.

Creativity in its many forms is another of the wonderful things I have been able to witness in the past few weeks. As the Sawdust Studio Art Classes have started their inaugural swing this fall, laughter and other joyful sounds fill the eucalyptus grove that houses the Sawdust Art Festival in summer and the Winter Fantasy during the holiday season. The SSAC two-hour jewelry and ceramics classes are a delightful way for locals and tourists alike to while away a bit of creative time in this peaceful setting. They come away with some beautiful pieces of art they have created as well. What fun to be a part of this!

Suzette Rosenthal and I continue with our own Mixed Media Playtime workshops on Sunday afternoons in my studio. The regulars and the "newbies" alike seem to enjoy the creativity and camaraderie and a community of folks has formed. Stimulating and fun, we all seem to find some respite from the outside world in these gatherings. These classes fill quickly and we have such fun there is a longing for more…and no time.

Thursdays are my day to spend with my two grandsons. Wild and energetic, they at once wear me out and delight me with their antics. And now, the great news has come that there will be an addition to this small team. "May Day!" — also delivery day — seems an appropriate cry, even as we all smile broadly when repeating the words.

Friend Catharine moves — at least temporarily — to Loreto and the loss fills my heart even as I am happy for her own joys. Besides, I love Baja and will of course visit her as soon as possible, opening up yet more possibilities for the aforementioned richness and fullness. And I was thrilled to hear that her stepfather Lewie is doing so well post-stroke. He is a man who knows how to live life to the fullest and I am glad he and Kay continue on.

A recent family gathering, while not bringing as many of us together as we had hoped, did allow for yet another full day of love and laughter. My mother, who will celebrate her 94th birthday next week, beamed at the burgeoning life all around her. The kids had a great time in the pool with the added bonus of huge raindrops falling on them when thunder sounded and the sky suddenly lit up.

Husband Mike's mother, widowed this past winter, seems to be hitting a new stride as she enjoys a full life of new friends and old in L.A. Genevieve, at 90, continues to thrive and knows how to always have fun. It seems she is never without a smile. There's that richness and fullness again.

Of course, I know I sound a bit like a Pollyanna. No, nothing is perfect and sometimes the sorrows last a bit too long. Still, the spectrum that is life IS full and rich and there is opportunity at every turn for the appreciation of small, favorite things. Right now, the rains lets up for a bit and I leave this writing to see what else there is to experience today. Maybe a rainbow? Or what about those "wild geese with the moon on their wings"? Prob'ly not, but the thought titillates. What the heck! Could be.

Cherril Doty is an artist, writer, counselor…always fascinated, inspired, and titillated by the myriad mysteries of life…and joyful, always joyful. She can be reached at or by phone at (714) 745-9973.

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