Grace drives south on State Street back toward our apartment. We have groceries in the backseat, and there are plants tucked around my feet to keep the soil from spilling as we travel. Grace's new fern curls towards my ankles, reaching out for a kiss.
The song on my roommate's playlist changes. "Roses" by The Band Camino blasts almost loud enough to be painful but just loud enough to be exhilarating.
(Grace listens to music louder than anyone I know.)
(I love it.)
We roll down the car windows. The sun is soft and lemon yellow as it slips behind rows of commercial buildings. After a sleepily warm day, the breeze entering through the window is refreshing. I lean my head on the car door, letting the wind spin my hair into knots and nests. Eyes closed. Wind on my face. Setting sun.
We're only human but we've got hands and hearts and noses, the song says. So stop and smell the roses.
Earlier, Grace and I had perused the garden center at Lowe's and found plants to take home. (We named them Jemimah and Ollie.) We took stacks of our favorite paint chip colors.
An elderly man wearing a BYU scarf stopped to make conversation with us (much to his wife's embarrassment and our amusement). I found time stopping in the unexceptional wonder of Lowe's, taking in the sawdust smell and the churning of wheels on linoleum.
Grocery shopping. We picked out the same kind of fried rice and different kinds of noodles, and I only bought avocados because Grace pointed out what a great deal they were. I never went to Trader Joe's on my own, but I went with Grace because she turned grocery shopping into a vacation. We hugged bouquets of chamomile and patted soft loaves of cinnamon bread. A kaleidoscope of frozen foods and boxed snacks, layers of plants and crawling vines bringing everything in the store to life.
That was all. Plants and groceries. And now we are here, driving on State Street in time to witness the weekend sunset. My face and hair are alight with sunshine. I am surrounded by music flooding out the car windows, filling the whole world.
I used to only seek the adrenaline rush of skiing down a mountain slope or racing through a haunted house, but I now realize that I hold onto these exuberant highs with a far looser grip than I do the everyday moments that make up my beautiful life.
The little joys are as grand as the big ones. The crunch of snow the morning after it has fallen and frozen on the grass. Going through the carwash. When a friend calls you just to check in.
New freckles.
Tiny kids running amok in Halloween costumes. Successful parallel parking. Chocolate-covered strawberries.
The melody of your parents' laughter. Hearing a new song for the first time. The color blue.
I am still going to climb up mountains and ski down them and drive as fast as I can. But I'll hold onto the little parts of those experiences more than anything else. The colors of the leaves along that mountain hike. The taste of fresh snow. The electric joy of streetlights and freeways.
But for now I may be just as happy buying plants.
Going grocery shopping.
And driving with the windows down.