Letter from the Director, June 2021

The Power of Delight

I bought a new dress last week. This tidbit of information is not all that interesting but I tell you about it because I’ve been reading Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights, and the dress, to me, was delightful. It was cheap; it only cost $22 and I saw it on Amazon.com while I was looking for something else. Its blue tie-dye pattern caught my eye, as Amazon’s algorithms for recommendations correctly predicted. I added it to my cart on a whim, and when it arrived and I took it out of the packaging, I smiled. It was even better than I thought it would be.

I’ve started to look, as Ross Gay did, for things that delight me: a sunrise, a wildflower, a new journal, a smooth fine-line pen for writing. When I made the decision to be intentional in seeking joy, it seemed my world opened to all things wonderful and pleasing. I looked for details, for surprises, paying attention to the space around me with an eye for wonder. And you know what? When you look for beauty and joy, you most certainly find them, even if you’re down or bored, even in times of stress. Turning your outlook to the positive doesn’t mean you forget your problems. It means you claim something good in the middle of them, despite them. 

I know I’m biased, but the colony offers daily delight if you choose to be open to it. Here are a few things that make me smile:

  1. We have a new Zero Turn Mower. After deciding to take on the task of lawn maintenance, I realized it couldn’t be done with the push mower. The zero-turn is a beast of a mower and can tackle nearly any grass or weed. Mowing the lawn is a delight. A freshly mowed, tidy lawn is delightful.
  2. We have a new John Deere Tractor and Bush Hog – I also realized 30 acres of field couldn’t be mowed with the Zero Turn, so it was time to invest in a real high-level machine. I’m still trying to get comfortable bush hogging. It’s intimidating, especially on the uneven, rocky terrain. But when I complete a field and look at the work I’ve done, I feel proud. A job well done is delightful. 
  3. We have 2 new baby horses. One is soft brown and is with his Mama in one of the stables in the barn. The other is spotted and is in the south field with his Mama. These 2 foals are certainly delightful.
  4. We have 2 new part-time employees for the summer. Emma and Makayla are strong and capable young women from College Grove and the surrounding community. They will assist me in housekeeping, gardening, lawn care, and random tasks. These two are delightful assistants and the fact that I have people to talk to after working by myself for 10 months is doubly delightful!
  5. The garden is bursting with color! Flowers, tomatoes, peppers, and berries are surging under the June sun. I love growing things, and the garden is one of my happy places of true delight.
  6. We have 3 complete hiking trails now and all of them are delightful. As we work on a trail guide, I’m reminded of the power of the forest, the serenity found among trees. 

With every labeled joy, I learn a little bit more about myself and my outlook on the world. Choosing to see and claim delight – just one tiny thing a day – creates a sense of calm and wellbeing. I need that. Maybe you do too. Looking around right now, I see an abundance of delightful things. If you tend to struggle to find positivity in your world, I offer you one last piece of advice: Practice! And maybe a blue tie-dyed dress, or something equally wonderful, will find you, too!