I wrote this on the back of an envelope while on the plane from London to Boston on August 27. My plane was supposed to go to New York, but the whole JFK airport was closed down due to Hurricane Irene. In Boston I caught an 11 pm to 1 am flight to Atlanta, where I attempted to sleep in the airport. At 8 am I boarded a plane that went from Atlanta to Portland, Oregon—home (finally!). I needed this list of good things to cheer me up as I waited under fluorescent airport lights with CNN blasting hurricane news from every corner, having had 5 hours of sleep in two days.
*the moment when the airplane takes off—that wonderful jolt of sudden flight *kissing *making out *snuggling with a happy dog *playing tug-of-war with a dog *cats purring *hugs *lying on your stomach reading a book on a bright-green just-mown lawn *wildflowers *the smell of asphalt just after it’s stopped raining *clothes—especially pajamas and towels—that are still warm from the dryer *campfires *listening to thunder and watching lightning while you’re safe indoors *someone holding the door open for you *free food *thinking you’re late and finding out you’re actually early *free drinks *giggling babies and toddlers *happy laughter from anyone at any age *the smell of coffee in the morning or late afternoon *reaching the summit or the lake after an all-day hike *cross-country skiing on good, not-slushy not-icy snow—especially when your ski tracks are the first in new snow *sledding *the first snow of the season *reaching the climactic scene of a really page-turner novel *hearing a new favorite song for the first time *windy autumn days with blowing fire-colored leaves *twilight after a hot summer day *stars *half-asleep snuggling on the shoulder of a good friend on a comfy couch *bad puns *dirty jokes *the sound and smell of bacon, onions, and garlic sautéing—preferably together *birthdays *a long walk in a beautiful place *old trees with masses of roots big enough to sit on *old-growth forests with tree-trunks so wide it five people with their arms spread out still would not be able to hug the tree’s girth *applause *butterflies *sunsets *the moon, especially the bright golden harvest moon *walking barefoot on the beach *smooth just-shaved legs *brightly-colored socks *Pixar movies *your hair turning out great after doing nothing at all to it except brushing it a few strokes *roses *sunlight through the forest canopy—especially maple leaves *dragonflies *canoeing *kayaking *learning a clever new word *discovering a delicious new food *fireworks *lawns with lots of daisies, clover, and moss *getting a B or an A on an assignment you’d thought you’d done badly on *getting so sucked into a book that you can’t put it down till past midnight *spicy food *spotting shooting stars *interesting foreign accents—and sometimes that unusual foreign accent is your own *the sound of heavy rain on the roof as you’re going to sleep *dimples *freckles *sharpening a pencil with your pocket knife *chopping or hatchet-ing wood for a fire *warming and drying yourself in front of a heater—or, even better, a fire—after getting soaked in rain *splashing in mud puddles with rain boots *playing catch *kickball *someone else making you dinner when you’ve had an exhausting day *cooking a glorious meal on your own to serve to hungry family or friends *cherry blossoms *rainbows *finally seeing your favorite work of art—the original—in person *catching (and quickly releasing) frogs and toads *a thriving vegetable garden *wild mint growing along a stream-bank *willow trees with leaves draping into a lake