This I Believe

Quinn - Palo Alto, California
Entered on January 19, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem

Little joyous things are never hard to find. But you’ve got to look. Babies and toddlers see joy in everything, because everything is new to them. As people get older, they forget to look for the joy around them. Things seem commonplace, and people fall into a kind of routine. But we can share our experiences, and one of mine stands out for me —— and maybe, if I tell you about it right, for you as well.

I was sitting and drawing in my fifth-period art class. Fifth period is the worst time for art, because it’s right after lunch, and everyone’s sleepy. Miss Wixsom was off on a monologue about lines and shapes that sounded something like the parents talking in Peanuts – a French horn going wa, wa, wa, wa. (I can say this because she doesn’t listen to NPR. I hope. If she does, sorry. No offense.)

A gloomy gray haze had been lurking around all day. Then it began to rain. I love rain. It’s like a shower outside. If I couldn’t catch cold, I would dance in it for hours on end. As soon as Miss Wixsom took a break, I ran outside, already gleeful. It wasn’t long before I noticed the absence of rain on my right arm. It had been raining from only one cloud. The other clouds refused. The happiness I felt at this, that the clouds could be so persistent and stubborn, was something a smile couldn’t express.

For the rest of the week, nothing could keep me from a cheerful sense that things were all as they should be. That things were, in a word, right. Things like learning P.G. Wodehouse was related to Elizabeth I (my two favorite people) or remembering that “altruistic” was the word I had been struggling to remember all weekend. Even sitting here, writing this, I notice that “essay” and “easy” could be mistaken for each other, and that makes me grin. (Maybe you had to be here.) Joyous things are all around us. But you’ve got to look. And I believe in looking.