The door banged closed behind us, rattling the wind chimes that hung from the patina-green metal frog at the door frame. Our backs were nearly pressed to the door glass in the narrow entryway of the sushi restaurant as a small crowd waited for seats.
Thankfully, there was immediate seating for two – a good thing since we were cutting it close to arrive at the movie theater in time for previews. And we must see the previews. We are preview people.
The hostess led us to a small table nestled behind a wooden partition that separated the door from the rest of the dining room. The screen reminded us of a backyard privacy fence, with decorative strings hanging from thumbtacks at regular intervals. The metal wind chimes were behind us now, announcing each arrival and departure accompanied by a blast of cold air from outside, stirring the strings.
We ordered tempura and sushi rolls to share and two glasses of wine, then settled in to wait for our food. Menus aside, I looked more closely at the decorative strings to discover that each held a dozen small origami birds of every color and pattern.
The paper birds were so delicate and whimsical, floating against the wood and then stirring in the breeze. They were delightful. And that’s when I knew I would share them.
A couple of weeks ago I listened to a podcast episode of the NPR show, “This American Life.” The episode was called “The Show of Delights,” and I loved every minute of it. The show was a balm.
The episode description: “In these dark, combative times, we attempt the most radical counterprogramming we could imagine: a show made up entirely of stories about delight.”
If you need some delight in your life, give it a listen: The Show of Delights
The show was inspired by a book written by poet Ross Gay, The Book of Delights, in which he pens a daily essay about something delightful. The essays are about moments large and small, past and present, but written with a singular goal – to cultivate an appreciation for the simple delight that is already around us. Every day.
These words in the preface connected with me:
“It didn’t take me long to learn that the discipline or practice of writing these essays occasioned a kind of delight radar. Or maybe it was more like the development of a delight muscle. Something that implies that the more you study delight, the more delight there is to study.
“…I felt my life to be more full of delight. Not without sorrow or fear or pain or loss. But more full of delight. I also learned this year that my delight grows – much like love and joy – when I share it.”
So, for this season of Lent, I want to hone my delight radar – develop a delight muscle – by finding something delightful to write about each week. I want to lift my eyes from my phone, turn down the radio, and scan the space around me for delight. I have a feeling it’s almost always there if I will just take the time to seek it out.
And so – those paper birds on a string. They were delightful, and now I share them with you.