Leaning Toward Joy
It’s a crazy place, a bowling alley on the second floor of an old, rickety office building. Walking up the wildly uneven steps, after navigating a series of unmarked street doors, one can hear a faint bowling-like rumble in the background. Passing the mortgage office, the next door announces, “Candle Lanes—Candle Pin Bowling”. Open the door and enter into the 1970’s, untouched and unvarnished—the world of candle pin bowling in the Berkshires comes alive.
It’s my 67th birthday. Ten of us gather in celebratory revelry in the upstairs lanes. We have the whole place to ourselves, which is strangely freeing. Something about the pure kitsch of it, the individual murals of rural scenes over each lane, the multi-colored small bowling balls, the familiar clanging sounds of a pursuit from easier days, elation is ignited in each of us. Silliness emerges—we hoot and holler, urging each other on. Playing in two “teams”, the competition becomes ridiculously delightful. “You were robbed.” “Go get ‘em.” “Yes, yes, YES.”
I find myself washed with delight. As I lean further and further into the ecstatic joy that is unleashed, relaxation floods over me. I am wild and hoarse with yelling, delighted by every move and moment with my friends. We all manage, somehow, in this brief interlude on North Street, to lean toward joy, to allow the ridiculous, to put our adult selves to the side. We all are freed in the leaning.
As we add up scores, I receive the miracle: my score is 67, 67 on my 67th birthday! I take it as an affirmation from the universe, life’s partnering with me, an omen that this New Year will be abundantly stocked with joy, laughter and possibility.
We leave each other after 90 minutes of hilarity, which is an abundance of both of bowling and ridiculousness. We bid each other adieu, and head toward our separate cars, opened and touched and tingling with the joy of it all.
Dear Friends, lean toward joy this holiday season! As the season turns, as the light returns to the day, as winter enters our world, let the flush of joy seep into your hearts. Do the ridiculous—embrace the silly. Look for a totally out-of-the-box way to just simply let go. You deserve it. Happy Solstice to all.