Wednesday, November 23, 2011


And around my neck could be a flaming Christmas wreath,
And I’d be smiling under, smiling underneath.
Ani DiFranco

In the past week I’ve become highly aware of things that make me involuntarily smile. Of course, there are the usual things like seeing someone you love; a child doing something cute; or something that tickles your sense of humour. And then there’s icecream and chocolate (Or does that come under “seeing someone you love”?) But other things too make me grin like a goon, often to myself.

I’ve become aware of these other things that make me smile—ones that don’t necessarily make a lot of sense if you think about the fact that we smile (and produce a myriad other facial expressions) primarily as a mode of communication.

While watering my vegetable and herb garden two days ago I noticed that I couldn’t help smiling whenever I turned to face a plot of dwarf sunflowers growing there. Unlike the other plants in the garden, some of which I’m very proud of, the sunflowers give me a feeling of pure joy which has very little to do with feelings of achievement in growing them because they weren’t exactly a challenge. The seed of these sunflowers were a gift from a friend who is now living interstate and whom I miss terribly so, if anything, they should have prompted a feeling of sorrow but the beauty and colour of the sunflowers overcame anything negative and made me smile to myself, hose in hand.

My involuntary smiling at the sunflowers made me more aware of what can produce these smiles and feelings of joy so last night as I was driving home from Melbourne and had come over the Dividing Range into some wetter air I saw a rainbow and it made me smile. The day before I had seen a hot air balloon and it too had made me smile.


These things are interesting things to smile at but I think it comes down to how I feel about them. I’ve never been ballooning and I’m not sure that I’m particularly keen to go (although if someone offered me a ride, I wouldn’t say no) but I like the ‘idea’ of hot air balloons—there’s a certain romance to them. And the rainbow? Well, that’s probably a hangover from childhood and the fascination I had with them then. It wasn’t silly stories about pots of gold that caught my imagination, I just liked the colours.


So, in the interest of smiling more often, I’ve planted more sunflowers in and around my garden and I’m going to keep an eye out for hot air balloons and rainbows.

What makes you smile?

1 comment:

The Antihippy said...

What makes me smile?

Amusing things. Comedy, babies falling over - kittens playing. Despite my gruff exterior I can be hopelessly sentimental.

One of the most impressive things I've seen was icicles frozen on a bush like a crystalline waterfall, backlit by the rising sun so that it glowed a soft orange. And there was no-one else around to see it.

Seeing flowers in a field or shafts of light through clouds or spray on rocks during a storm has a different more profound impact.

It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful, how powerful, the world around us is.