virtuous, lovely, and of good report

If you know me at all, you will know I am, by nature, a little bit snarky. Back in the day before the word “snark” was coined, my dad used to tell me I was a smart aleck. To which I would retort, “That’s better than being a dumb aleck.”

Somewhere over the ages and while social media went viral, I began to reach my snark saturation. I still appreciate clever and slightly irreverent, but the edge of the snark grew mean and the Internet became permeated with mean and I was just done.

At one point I thought of just being done, done. But I’ve had too many sweet experiences and I am connected to too many people I love to pull the plug. So I just decided to try [“try” is the operative word here] to keep one thing in mind. The admonition of Paul, as expressed in the 13th Article of Faith: “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” I fell in love with Instagram for that very reason. It was a nice, possibly wordless venue on which to share whatever that day had struck me as particularly lovely or of good report. I grasped on to the #thingsthatmakemehappy hashtag and had at it. The subjects are generally simple. There might be clouds, a river trail, or even planes involved. Whatever it is, it is something that caught my eye and bid me to take a moment to capture it and remember.

So today here is a little glimpse into one of the things I found lovely in the world of late. Despite the mean and hateful and hurtful, there is beauty all around. It testifies of God’s love for us. And it gives me something to celebrate on even the bleakest day. For that I will forever be grateful. I am often heard whispering aloud as I frame the subject in the camera to snap the photo, “Thank you, God, for this beautiful world.”

lovely and of good report

Room with a view

airport at night

This is the view from my office as I leave work these days. Those are not city lights or car lights or building lights. Simply the mostly red and blue lights along the runway. I wish my camera (or the photographer) could better capture atmosphere. And sound (or the lack thereof). There is a quiet peace and calm that descends upon the airport after dark that is indescribable. You must experience it for yourself one day.

Last night as I went to bed I tried to take a photograph of the moon shining through the trees and my bedroom window. I was unsuccessful. I’ve even tried, at times, to portray what I see in words, but I am no more successful. In any case, I’ve long been in love with either of the views from my two bedroom windows. From my bed I can see the lovely Mt. Timpanogos. Along with her glorious displays at sunrise, my favorite is the soft, sure glow of her very best white dress, which she sports throughout the winter, pushing past the dark curtain of the night. As I’ve said before, her constant presence is a balm and comfort to me.

My other favorite is what I was trying to freeze in time and memory last night. The west window behind my bed. A tall tree grows next too it, too close to the house, and therefore close to my heart. It’s lovely during summer when the window is open and a gentle breeze stirs the tree’s leaves just enough to make its presence known, even from behind. And during winter when skeletal branches moved by wind make moonlight dance through my bedroom window, well, that is something to behold as well. The moonbeams reach in along the dark folds of whatever quilt I’m curled up in against the cold as if to warm me also.

Last night the waxing moon shone through still, dark branches of my tree and splayed abstract dark and light across my bed. I turned to look behind me and the familiar play of cool shadow and light gave me warmth and comfort and simple joy.

Crows instead of leaves

crows on tress

I’ve been meaning to write about how it was I, at 50 years old, found myself brave/crazy enough to apply for and go after a new job that was completely out of my comfort zone and work with, well, actual rocket science. But I’m almost halfway done with a three-week stint at 50+ hours/week and I’m beat. So instead I’ll share something I happened upon today that made me happy.

Backstory: There are quirks about my new office. Hangar A, aka The South Hangar. One is that, similar to my old office, I found myself often wearing a coat, a blanket, a ski cap, and fingerless gloves. During work. Only in the middle of the summer. Now, as winter approaches. I often find myself moving my shiny silver personal fan right in front of my face. Sometimes it’s gloves in the morning and the fan in the afternoon. Temperature control is, apparently, complicated.

There is also the probably not healthful intake of jet fuel fumes that occurs every time I rush outside to see a big plane come in or take off. There’s a tradeoff of course. I get to watch big planes–little ones too, but the big ones are my favorite–come in or take off. The watching is amazing (every time I see it happen I think to myself, “that Bernoulli, he was just plain nuts!”), but it’s the listening I love. There is this almost tangible way the sound echos off the other hangars–it feels like off the mountains even. There is this way the sound diminishes as the jets turn and taxi in one direction, and then swells as the jets turn and taxi in another. And then there is this way the engines roar as they power up to miraculously (not really–it is sound science after all–it just feels miraculous) heave this multi-ton tin can and its occupants heavenward. It is amazing every single time. I know with a surety it will never grow old.

There are the bugs that come in during the summer. Let’s not talk about those.

And today there was the water being turned off for most the day. Which necessitated a trip clear over to our sister site, Fire and Rescue, to fill up a water bottle or use the facilities. That’s ok. Not only do they have running water there, but it’s actually hot. And the restrooms are heated. It’s comfortable. On a day like today that’s an appreciated luxury.

Which brings me back to my photo. I could have been annoyed or angry or indignant that the basic needs we take for granted all the time were not available to me today (hopefully only temporarily, we’ll see). It wasn’t very time efficient. And it was inconvenient to be sure. But I didn’t feel any of those things. And that’s probably why I was open to noticing the trees full of crows as I pulled into what is dubbed the fire science building. I was amused that the fallen leaves had been replaced with crows. I’d seen the crows just last week as I pulled over to get video for my Instagram. What was missing in the video was the powerful audible and tangible WHOOSH that accompanied the flock when it would descend or ascend upon the empty corn field en masse. While there was some moderate swooshing, there was no WHOOSH today. The birds were mostly settled high in the tree tops.

Serendipitous I be right there to witness!

crows on treesII
Don’t miss the zoom-in

Crows instead of leaves. I liked it.

Wish you could have been there.