An urn in Sonnenberg Gardens smiles across the Italian garden on a summer day.

An urn in Sonnenberg Gardens smiles across the Italian garden on a summer day.

What makes you smile? What makes your blood circulate a bit faster? Is it the sight of your grandson’s toes? The scent of that first cup of coffee in the morning? Something that gives you an idea?

If we had a “sparkle meter” in our brains that rose and fell with things that uplift us, I think mine would rise with the smallest things. Seeing a hummingbird flitting among the bee balm lifts me more than buying a fancy purse at the mall. Seeing a child’s coloring of a rainbow lifts my spirit, more than watching another sitcom rerun on TV. Fog rolling in around my house can even inspire a spooky story in my brain that I have to get written while the spark is there.

I realize that the world is far from perfect but gives us so much. I think about the influences I’ve received from so many directions. It’s hard to explain, but when I start reaching outside myself, I’m influenced by the tiniest snail or the artwork of Botticelli, or the wonderful art being made by people like Pat Rini Rohrer. Seeing a flower blooming or an antique dress at Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion can give me inspiration. It’s like nutrition for the soul. Watching the eagles fly over Montezuma seeps into me and teaches me to pay attention. The community of thinkers, artists and writers I know adds imagination and flavor to my world.

Today I watched the deer in the woods, looking for morsels to nibble on, so beautiful as the snow fell upon them. The moved slowly, and I smiled.

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