Okay, now this is probably going to be a weird post coming from me, but yesterday I was sitting in a tire shop awaiting repair of a damaged tire (working on a manuscript while I waited), when in comes a mother with her twenty-something daughter, and the daughter’s infant daughter. The twenty-something was quite talkative, as most twenty year olds can be, but then the two of them get to playing with the twenty-something’s infant daughter–which got the infant to laughing.
Yeah, and it was here that I was taken right out of what I was doing, out of my world, and began actively listening to this child’s pure and unbounded laughter as I worked on a manuscript involving death and destruction. Now, of course I’ve heard plenty of infant laughter throughout my years on Earth, but in this one instant, this one moment in time…it really hit me in hard-to-define way, like all goodness in the world had suddenly converged….
It was so pure.
So untouched by any of the ills of the world.
Most likely every mother reading this is nodding knowingly and going “Oh, yeah, you got it….” And it’s not like this has never been considered by me, but sometimes even the everyday sounds we all hear take on more depth, more resonance, an indefinably weird and heightened clarity that it’s like there is zero distortion in what we’re hearing or seeing…that the particular sound or sight was created just for you. No one else. That this particular sound has a message, and you’re finally getting close to metaphysically getting it….
That’s what this laughter sounded like.
It sounded like the joy and exhilaration and playfulness of life was trying to reach out and shake me…to let me know that, yes, it is still here, the joy, exhilaration, and playfulness of life…that no matter what else is out there, no matter how bad other things can be, there is also this.
The uncorrupted, unadulterated (pardon the pun) delight of living…the thrill of breathing, the pleasure of existing…in the moment and happy and blissful and amused by just being.
I don’t know the age of the infant, don’t know at what age actual wonder sets in to the developing infant mind, and I never saw him or her…but for that one moment in the microcosm of that tire shop, the unfettered joy of that infant’s laughter caused much more than just a physical smile. I felt the playful energy in that infant’s laughter and soul pick me up and shake me silly.
And maybe, just maybe, that’s what we all need every now and then–and perhaps a little more in today’s times…to smile…a deep, soul-affecting, blissfully elated smile.