A recent flare up of arthritis in my hip has made my routine walks unduly unpleasant. But yesterday, I had a welcome respite during my last two laps around the block. At one point, I saw a young woman holding a baby next to a tree limb. The youngster was reaching out at some white caterpillar-looking flowers. The closer he got, the more he giggled in anticipation. I didn’t stop long enough to see if the woman let him actually touch or grab onto the flowers, but what I had already witnessed uplifted my spirits: such innocent delight, such simple pleasure. I hardly noticed the discomfort in my hip as I strode on.
A few minutes later, as I turned on the boulevard facing the mountains, I was inspired by another compelling life-affirming sight, a spectacularly vivid double rainbow. How alluring! It completely blocked out any residual pain that lingered in my hip.
Since that day, I have in my mind frequently revisited the bubbly infant and the radiant rainbow. I can identify with the 19th century Romantic English poet William Wordsworth who once wrote of similar exalted memories that he famously phrased as “emotion recollected in tranquility.” Or I could just say Hip, hip hooray!