I pulled into the driveway and he darted across the yard, his sleek and narrow body bounding through patches of missing grass as though they were stepping stones. I’ll never know how he managed to hold onto it with only his tiny squirrel mouth, but there it was, this one perfect tomato just at the peak of ripeness. It was the color of fiery sunsets, bright reds and oranges and yellows. And the squirrel clung to it as though it were the sun itself, as though it were precious and powerful and at the very center of everything. He ran toward me like a dog playing fetch, a look of discovery and pride on his tiny face, but at the last moment he turned and scurried up the tree. I was glad of this. It was his treasure, not mine.
Sometimes we find beauty in unexpected places. It is my favorite kind of discovery. Sometimes grey days give depth to the colorful details. Sometimes we find a song or an image or a piece of poetry that moves us to our very core. Sometimes we find love and kindness in people we hadn’t even noticed. Sometimes we are wise enough to accept these unlikely gifts.
And sometimes we are wise enough to realize that they are less unlikely than we think, if we’re wiling to pay attention. The thing about treasure is that you have to search for it. You don’t necessarily need to know where it’s located, but you need to know how to find it, how to recognize it when it arrives. You need to be carrying the right tools.
Make sure you can see it. Always keep your eyes and ears and heart open to such possibility. Make sure you can feel it. Always stop, for at least a moment, to breathe and reflect and save it somewhere within. Make sure you have a way to dig for it. Always have a paintbrush or a pen or a camera or a pair of good running shoes, or whatever it is that helps you uncover things inside of you. Make sure you appreciate its value. Always add it to your evolving wealth of happiness. Make sure you share it. Always.
Life, at times, can feel uncertain. Surely storybook pirates sometimes had doubts about finding buried treasure. The X may be illusive. The map isn’t a guarantee. Our maps, our plans, aren’t either. It’s too easy to get lost. It’s too easy to become so fixated on arriving at that X, whatever it may mean to us, that we forget about the journey, about the possibility of all of the other Xs awaiting discovery. There is treasure everywhere.
Consider, for instance, the sleek and narrow squirrel bounding through my yard. Consider the strength of his tiny jaw clinging to his found treasure. Consider his happiness, and the way I mistook it as being singularly his. Consider how it was actually ours. Consider how both of us walked away richer.
Consider the way I am forever bounding through patches of doubt and uncertainty as though they were stepping stones. Consider the way I am forever clinging to the fiery treasure of knowing how to love my life. Consider the way I am forever trying to share that gift.
Then use your tools to find it. Make sure you never stop searching. Always carry with you such eager, wild love.