Goodbye to May! Most of my conversations this past month reflected the exhaustion among us. Parents overwhelmed by the multitude of extras in May. Gardeners who were working with and around the plentiful rain to get their planting in. Grandparents traveling to attend graduations. May is a month of transition. As a whole, we are weary from marking the thresholds and preparing for the next season. We are ready for a new month.

In June, we engage the path of delight. While that speaks to the revelry of summer, it also may seem like a tall task. Delight? Any of us might wonder, knowing how effortful it is to simply get through a day. It might seem frivolous or silly. Hardly worthy of a month’s exploration.

Yet, delight has come to be a part of a budding practice for me. I wonder if it might be for others.

Delight requires attention and celebration. It is both noting a moment with particularity and grasping its joy. It is worthy and weighty enough to balance the worries of our days. To embrace delight is to retrain our gaze to something more than the terrors and troubles that clamor atop our news feeds.

Ross Gay is writer and professor at the University of Indiana. In 2019, he published a book called “The Book of Delights.” Here is a brief excerpt:

So I settled into a coffee shop, took my notebooks out. And I was reading over these delights, transcribing them into my computer. And while I was working, headphones on, swaying to the new De La Soul record – delight which deserves its own entry – I noticed a white girl. She looked 15 but could have been, I suppose, a college student, standing next to me with her hand raised. I looked up, confused, pulled my headphones back. And she said, like a coach or something, working on your paper? Good job to you – high-five.

You better believe I high-fived that child in her pre-ripped Def Leppard shirt and her itty-bitty Doc Martens, for I love – I delight in – unequivocally pleasant public physical interactions with strangers. What constitutes pleasant, it’s no secret, is informed by my largish, male and cisgender body, a body that is also largish, male, cisgender and not white. In other words, the pleasant, the delightful, are not universal. We should all understand this by now.

What would it be, I wonder, if we gave as much attention to these random moments that surprise and delight us, as the aggravations we all too willingly recount to our friends, family and co-workers? What would happen to us if we celebrated the moments that tickle us with surprise and hope?

I would love to find out. Wouldn’t you?

June Sparkler

The poet, Ross Gay, challenged himself to write daily for a year about the delight he encountered. The result is his best-selling book, The Book of Delights. You can hear Gay interviewed about the book and his experience of writing it or listen to him read from the book. And if you want more, there’s a great essay inspired by the book.

So… if Ross Gay can find and write about a delight every day for a year, we certainly can do it for a week! So, give it a try! (And, of course, part of this exercise is figuring out why exactly you – and your deepest self – wants, and maybe even needs, to give it a try!)