Tuesday, August 15, 2006

on exuberance

I am sitting at an outside table at Borders, inhaling, exhaling. Breath in, breath out. Ahhhh…Only one more class to teach this summer, the sky is brighter than Mr.B’s fenders, no recall problem with my recently acquired Dell battery, no dinner to cook, no weeds to pull – life is good.

In fact, I am tempted to post this photo, taken a few hours back (it is of an outdoor sculpture), just to show how one might depict the exuberance that I feel at this moment.

summer 06 503

Exuberance is an under-used word. It is undervalued and its power is underestimated. People talk of being happy, but even that is more of an embarrassment. God, she’s happy. What’s with her, doesn’t she get the pain of others? That’s okay, her time will come. [If this sounds remarkably like something my mother would say, that’s because it is.]

I’ve heard the phrase ‘youthful exuberance’ in various contexts. Such youthful exuberance! (What, before arthritis sets in?) Youthful idealism, youthful exuberance, mature depression, mature macular degeneration.

I happen to have been somewhat of a worrier in the course of my youthful parenting. (I was, by today’s standards, a young mom). I felt exuberant when a daughter smiled up at me, but I worried that she might trip on her own exuberant run and do permanent damage to her sweet, young little body.

With time, I got used to the idea that certainty was elusive and knees get scraped. Yesterday, for example, I felt exuberant on the bike even though the day before I fell off and gashed my knee. [Those damn toe-clips!]

Exuberance can be aspired to, nay, attained even, in spite of gashed knees.

LATER: of course, exuberance, almost by definition, lasts about the time it takes to drink a latte. It’s evening, Tex Tubb’s Tacos have settled in, exuberance trickled out, tiredness replaced it.