Joy-spotting | Chapter 3 (of 5)
In the age of Instagram, how to influence joy is of utmost importance. www.iloveureka.com is my place to influence more joy and bring more awareness to the joy that is around us.
Our home, Eureka Springs, AR, is brimming with what one might call "aesthetics of joy." All around this wonderful town the beauty of the natural environment joyfully surrounds you and when you sprinkle-in the many things created by the residents and visitors - aesthetics of joy are everywhere here in Eureka.
In this blog series, Joy-Spotting, we will explore these aesthetics of joy, understand them and learn more about why we are drawn to them. Most importantly, we will learn what they do for us.
Aesthetics of joy is a simple, powerful idea: our greatest source of joy is the world around us.
At one time or another, the words above have all been used to describe Eureka Springs, AR. As we explore these colorful descriptors and understand more about them, I encourage you, as you journey about in and around Eureka Springs, to take a joy-spotting adventure to seek out these wonders that make our homes, our connections and our lives very joyful.
Welcome to Chapter Three, let's explore the next two aesthetics of joy - Play and Surprise.
Everyone has an inner-child. As we grow older, we tend to lose touch with that innocent, playful, energy that was omnipresent in our youth. Even today, an impulse to play is something that is most natural to us all if we just give in to it and go with it.
Eureka Springs loves to play.
Last night was a truly joyful time.
The 30th Annual White Street Studio Walk was held from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. here in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Historic White Street is the working address of several local artists who welcome everyone into homes and studios to view their latest works.
In total, there were more than forty guest artists from the Eureka Springs area that displayed their weaving, sculptures, watercolors, jewelry, oils, pottery, stained glass, mixed-media, fashion and so much more.
Our thanks to the walk organizers - Eleanor Lux, Zeek Taylor, and Mary Springer. Entirely by coincidence (and that magical Eureka energy that captures and tugs at many artists), these three artist/friends ended up living on White Street after attending the Memphis College of Art.
These Eurekans capture "play" through their daily passion as they hone their gifted, artistic abilities. Eleanor is a weaver. Zeek a Watercolorist and Mary is a painter/sculptor.
This annual event consistently draws locals and visitors to White Street who delight in experiencing a “hidden” Eureka Springs gem as it allows for play time with the artists in their own private studio spaces.
The "street walk" concept versus "studio open house night" gives visitors get a street fair atmosphere combined with refreshments and music along with a sense of this unique, prominent, residential neighborhood on the upper historic loop. (LOCAL TIP: You ABSOLUTELY have to experience White Street when it's time to play on Halloween!!)
Such a delight to experience the White Street Art Walk again after taking a hiatus with the recovering world for the last two years. What a fun evening to watch our artists play . . . and to play along with them for a change.
Oooooh, I love surprises!
Surprise is a feeling distinct from joy, and yet they so often come together. We can be surprised by the bright envelope in a stack of bills in our mailbox, or the pop of a firecracker, even the stripes of a new shop’s awning in the neighborhood.
Joyful surprises break the monotony of our routines and they can prompt us to reexamine our habits, our thoughts/emotions, preconceived notions and bias as well as our stereotypes.
When we are wrapping a gift for a friend or enhancing our sock drawer with colorful paper for ourselves, we are introducing elements of surprise into life.
In Eureka Springs, an element of surprise is awaiting you around every corner. The Aza Statue perched over Basin Park, a mosaic of Michael Jordan near the Post Office, downtown manhole covers painted with colorful koi, the rainbow stairs in the center of town, and Thorncrown Chapel - a architectural marvel, nestled in these Ozark hills that takes your breath away when you first see it. These, friends, are but a few examples of surprise being offered here.
Eureka Springs is dotted with surprises all over the place . . .
My favorite surprise are the seasonal fireflies. What magical creatures they are fluttering about in nature. They elicit such joy from human beings of all ages that experience them.
Light production in fireflies is due to a type of chemical reaction called bio-luminescence. This process occurs in specialized light-emitting organs usually on a firefly's lower abdomen. This forms a beautiful language with sight (as opposed to sound, taste, touch and scent, which are used by most animals and insects.)
The main purpose of a firefly’s light show is to attract a mate. The males fly around while turning their lights on and off, hoping to get the attention of a flightless female waiting in low vegetation. They try to flash very quickly, because this is what attracts females.
I recently read the post from a man online that said this . . ."My young daughters are mesmerized by fireflies. They associate fireflies with magic and fairies. In the summer evenings as fireflies begin to appear, my daughters will dress up in delightful outfits that they have selected from an online store that sells princess dresses for kids. With tiaras, multi colored tutus, wands, capes, shoes, and those all important princess dresses, this site has captivated my daughters’ attention and inspired their imagination. As my daughters dance among the fireflies, twirling about in princess dresses, happy and delighted with the magic that fireflies create with their flickering light, I continue to ponder the mysteries that are fireflies."
In our neighborhood here on East Mountain, just up Douglas hill off Main Street, fireflies bask in the cool, damp, dim conditions of the holler below Little Lake Eureka. They usually begin to appear toward the end of Spring (after the rains) as we segue into Summer.
I long await these beauties each year because after a joyful day, the night lights up with them and carries even more joy into the wee hours of the evening.
An emerging body of research shows that there is a clear link between our surroundings and our mental health. Yet nearly all the advice on how to find happiness ignores this fact.
Look around Eureka Springs, specifically look through the lens of joy-spotting and it will hit you. This place illuminates joy because it favorably ignites the relationship between our environment and our emotions through these joyful aesthetics in our life.
This concludes Chapter 3 in this series, Joy-Spotting, but we continue to shed light on this concept to help everyone better understand that joy is all around if you simply take a moment to spot it.❤️
Joy-Spotting is a blog-series of five chapters where we seek to discover joy already all around us. Joyspotting is real, it's a thing and there is much joy to spot and experience here in Eureka Springs. In this series. we will take you on a joyful journey around Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Take a moment to check out the different chapters in this blog-series on www.iloveureka.com