[ joi ]
the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.
a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated.
the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.
a state of happiness or felicity.
Joy is a natural storyteller. Joy uses words intuitively, stressing some while letting others fall away. Nuanced in color, having already lived a vibrant and rich life, her voice gently shakes the crowns of trees, sways the pillars of structure while, sentence by sentence, language builds a nest of embroidered meaning. Hearing Joy speak, it is easy to conjure up one keen image after another.
There is the story about the rings of trees at the end of the village. You see, every time Joy sets out with her walking stick and tries to reach the rings, she fails to do so. She points them out to me from a distance, but so far they have proven unreachable. The more she walks, the further they appear to be. The rings of mystery she calls them.
I stayed the night in the house of Joy. In a mountain village the locals call Windsome in the old tongue. Windsome - the village of crossing winds where people are carried on the breath of inspired action. My encounter with Joy is the meeting of such winds. Of exhales. Inhales. Of muses. And crossroads. And falling stars carrying the wishes of children in the spirals of bellybuttons. I learn that Joy was born in the capital. “I’ve lived in the village for the past six or seven years,” she explains. “I don’t know the exact number anymore.” She tells me they want to build a new road through the village. “So, naturally, more people will visit us. Goodbye old, snuggly village,” she exclaims animated. It becomes obvious Joy is not all about elation, pleasure and happiness. Joy is a deep thinker, one who ponders the future of her roots.
It’s still dark outside. Misty. The sun is hiding. The moon is seeking. Joy, sleeping. I lay awake. I few more blinks and the moon finds the sun. Sunrise. After we break our fast Joy invites me to shoot with her bows. “I learned from the archer Mir. She’s from the Nether Lands. And for a decade she lived in the birth place of Orpheus. Alone. In the mountains and wilderness. Without seeing anyone, but her boyfriend, I think.”
“Did Mir get her food by hunting,” I ask. “Possibly,” she shrugs. Or by scavenging, I think to myself. Joy shows me how to stand; where to place my hands. “Push against the bow handle while you pull the string.” The first handful of arrows miss entirely. Joy carries the archer’s birthmark and while she may not hit the cardboard target each time, she knows deep inside the rules of this fairytale called Life. The target is life, and the bow, and the archer. The target is me - the visitor from far far away, and the target is her - the native from near near away. Eventually, we both start hitting the target. Her fingers get cold, she suggests we take a walk to the Canyon. “There is a dog that attacked me once,” she explains as she grabs a stick. “Do you want one too?” I decline, I can handle the village dog.
We set out as Joy points to the unreachable trees. The rings of mystery. “We’ll go to the left. And we will have to cross several large puddles.” After we brave a few of the puddles Joy assures me the worst is over. “They’re here even in the summer,” she says. “The puddles are the guardians of the road,” I add. She smiles. She likes that idea. We come up on a small wooden patch. Row upon row of barren trees stack down a slope. “I like to stand here and watch the trees receed. It soothes me.” Joy leans in on her stick looking wistfully. Joy is in the looking.
“There is a hill at the end and it’s literally two steps to the top.” She stops by a tree with flowers. It’s winter, but Life doesn’t wait. “I always pick a flower from here. It’s like a ritual of mine.” She raises up on her toes. The flowers are out of reach. I offer to pick one for her. She accepts and we start walking again. My back is turned to Joy when I hear her say, “I’ll peel you layer by layer until nothing is left but a seed.” I stop and turn around. She has cast the seed on the ground, stomps, rubs her foot and proclaims, “May you grow into a tree. If it’s meant to be.”
We have reached the Canyon. “This is the river Yan Tra,” Joy point to the river snaking bellow us. “Do you know what fossils are?” Yes. She busies herself looking for fossils while I play the flute. “Come see!” Joy is excited about her discovery. Seashells that have started to fossilize. The mountain was once under water. And we are the pearls that once lived in innocence.
“Wouldn’t it be fascinating if I reincarnate here. In this village. That’s if there is such a thing as reincarnation. What if I reincarnate here and come to the Canyon to check on the fossils. And see how far they have come along. That is probably not possible though…” What if we reincarnate to come along once more, in one form or another, to check on the progress of Humanity. What if there are no chance encounters? What if joy is a step, a skip and a hop away?
Joy is ten years old. She just had her birthday. I wish her to reach through and beyond the frontiers of the known. To fish out the gems of her essence. To bring joy to those she loves, meets and inspires for a very, very long time.
In her mother’s tongue - Bulgarian, Joy is called Radost (Радост). Likewise, the name of her village - Windsome, is Vetrintsi (Ветринци); the archer Mir is Miriam from the Netherlands; the mountains of Orpheus are the Rhodope Mountains (Родопите); and Yan Tra is the river Yantra (Янтра).
Everything else is as it was told to me by Joy on December 1st and 2nd, in the year 2022. The year of the tiger. I neglected to say that Joy collects stamps. Some date as far back as the late 19th century. Perhaps one day you will receive a letter from Joy herself…and the stamp will bear the liking of your Life as you have created it in all of its beatitude.
Next “Kaval Park” showings & tickets
Chicago - February 4th, 2023
In reverence to Life from wintery Seattle!
“Joy is ten years old. She just had her birthday. I wish her to reach through and beyond the frontiers of the known. To fish out the gems of her essence. To bring joy to those she loves, meets and inspires for a very, very long time.”
Love, love, love your wish for her!!!