Did you know?
Our exclamation mark (!) is believed to come from the medieval Latin exclamation of joy: “io”.
Some clever scribe reportedly put the ‘i’ above the ‘o’! It became an exclamation sign to denote ‘admiration’, ‘wonderment’ or ‘joy’. An ancient ’emoji’ icon. ♥♥
Did you also know? The exclamation mark didn’t have its own dedicated key on standard manual typewriters before the 1970s. Instead, one typed a period, then backspaced, then typed an apostrophe above it.
Joy and Other Words For It in Italian and English
la gioia: Joy, delight, enjoyment, rejoicing, glee, mirth
il gaudio: Happiness, joy
la delizia : Delight, joy
la felicità: Felicity, joyousness
la letizia: Joy, happiness
il giubilo: Jubilation, joy, glee
la contentezza: Contentment, gladness, joy, cheerfulness
As you can tell — I’ve been thinking about joy.
The absence of it – a thing to be dreaded, as I well know – but mostly the heart-filling presence of it. Joy.
Blame it on the first days of Autumn, a season which — at least in its early appearances — brings me a bitter-sweet feeling of happy anticipation and hovering loss.
Winter has its joys. Quiet joys, like a walk in a wintry forest.
Or Advent, the 24-day period of anticipation before Christmas.
Advent summons a slow and certain joy, a reflective joy, one that grows as it approaches its destination — the big, jubilant joys of Christmas.
Spring makes me want to jump for joy. The giddy celebration of Winter’s end; the sight of new shoots and flowers, the urge to thrust hands into the earth. It’s a barely-restrained joy, a can’t- wait-to-see-what-will-pop-up-from-the-earth-next kind of joy.
For some, Summer’s joy is the thing. Outdoor activities like walking, swimming, paddling; visiting with friends. The delight of being on holidays. Sitting outdoors in a garden, perhaps reading a book — or not.
One feels no guilt at being idle. La dolce far niente, as the Italians say. Sweet Idleness. Or: “La gioia di non fare nulla”. The joy of doing nothing.
But Autumn: Autumn is in a class all its own.
That awe-struck joy I feel when I stand in the woods, looking at the sky through a curtain of red, gold, and orange leaves.
When I look down at the same colours on the forest floor… interrupted only by the grey-brown of tree trunks, or a rock, or a squirrel. Or me, kicking my foot through a pile of leaves and watching them fly.
Indoors, we pull out the old Hudson’s Bay blanket.
We light the first fire.
We make the first Autumn soup — butternut squash and apple — and the first pies.
And then the first big family event of the fall: Thanksgiving dinner. The joy of extended family, together.
Almost always, someone says: “Let’s take a drive to see the colours!” We pile into cars, happy and excited as small children on a Sunday afternoon drive.
Joy. That thing that fills the heart to bursting, the thing that makes me pinch myself in wonder.
Wonder, astonishment, and gratitude, at the familiarity and newness of it all. That the earth can be so beautiful, so glorious, and that I am so fortunate to live on this planet, in this place, at this time.
Photos by Hamlin Grange
57 thoughts on “! — Oh, Joy!”
This is a beautiful treatise on joy. I especially like the last sentence and the photos. Thanks Cynthia.
Thank you, Brad.
A lovely ode to the season and it’s pleasures Cynthia! I have never seen the ivy looking plant that is turning purple before – whatever is it?
It really is an ivy, my friend. It covers a whole side of our house. It’s always beautiful as it changes colour in the Autumn.
It is just lovely – all the ivies I have ever known stay green all year round or just turn orange- red and then drop……
Joyful Joyful We adore Thee. Well written and the pictures are gorgeous. Perfect post for the 1st of October.
Thank you! And I love the first line of that hymn!
Beautiful photos, Cynthia and Hamlin. A wonderful ode to joy in all its forms, in every season!
Thank you, dear Lavinia. Off to your blog soonest! Better have something for me!
Just posted now. 🙂
Amen! We should all spend more time being thankful for what have rather than worrying about what we don’t.
Yes! And I sense a little Zen philosophy there.
Possibly. I don’t don’t know much about Zen philosophy.
Beautiful photos, Cynthia. Although the calendar says autumn, we’re still stuck with summertime heat and humidity. It was nice to get a little taste of what’s to come.
Oh, I am happy to hear that. Sorry about the present weather, though.
Love that Boston Ivy picture,just perfect-I would buy a poster, Hamlin! Fall has an entirely different meaning for me, joyfully welcomed for the end of steamy summer, hurricanes and the beginning of our gardening season.
I hear you, and I can imagine the cooler days of autumn would be such a relief from a steamy summer. I enjoy and appreciate the Canadian seasons. If winter were two months shorter, I’d be even happier!
The first cool just arrived. I would not make it through your winter, even 2 months shorter.
Hope is what I have when my feet hit the floor in the morning, and joy starts with my first cup of coffee. I’m a simple person. 🙂 Love that first autumn photo.
A great response, Judy!
Love this post and all the beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing, mum! ❤
A delightful piece which brings back memories of the Canadian seasons, especially the beauty of crisp winters. What a way to bring a smile, Cynthia. Thank you.
Thank you, Julia. Glad it made you smile. It did me too.
I am so grateful for all the joy of this post. And I am sure I must have been Italian in a former life because this is my idea of joy. ‘ La dolce far niente, as the Italians say. Sweet Idleness. Or: “La gioia di non fare nulla”. The joy of doing nothing’. Also, I did not know about the exclamation mark. What a lovely history it has. !!!!!!!!!
Well, that’s the kind of interesting nugget that I would have read in your posts, so I’m just trying to up my game! Thank you.
Your game is well upped, Cynthia. Here’s a confession, which will tickle your funny bone. Until a few months ago, I had no idea why inverted question marks and exclamation marks existed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_question_and_exclamation_marks My daughter couldn’t stop laughing when I told her that I had finally figured out what they meant. As I am sure I have said before, some of us are slow learners. 😀
Hah! Those upside-down marks are cute, no? Well, as a (former) Spanish speaker, that’s one thing I knew.
Indeed! And, I, of course, am incredibly ignorant about most things Spanish. But see how much joy my ignorance eventually provided. 😀
A most joyful post. May you soon be able to jump for it
What a great wish that is! Thank you, Derrick.
I’ll share this morning’s joy: stopping to watch a doe and two fawns cross the road in the pre-dawn darkness; seeing that the sumac leaves are turning their glorious red.
Thank you for sharing yours.
Now that is wondrous, Margaret! They must have done this to bring special joy to a poet’s heart.
That is such a nice thought.
Beautiful words are like a breath of fresh air. We are indeed fortunate to live on this glorious planet… and I do what I can to help keep it that way.
Glad you do, Annie. Living on earth is a privilege that we should never take for granted.
How lovely to read your joyful post! Thank you for sharing with us… and yes, to be grateful and appreciate these blessings. Have a beautiful season! 😃
Apple with butternut sounds a great soup. I must remember to hold onto some of my apples till the squash are ripe.
Yes, isn’t autumn such a joyful time of year 🍂🍁
An ode to joy! Your words remind us to be thankful for every season. Fall is special for me as it means at least it will not be as hot as summer! And we won’t need a fire for months. A joyous post!!!!!!! Thanks for the new information. Enjoyed the photos too!
I see a nod to getting out the Christmas decorations! – Oscar
I’ve been thinking about autumn and why I love it so much . . . and, here, you’ve expressed it so well! I agree that all seasons can bring joy but my heart really soars on a fine autumn day.
Me too, Kerry!
Love this post Cynthia…it gave me a great reminder to stay in peace and find joy.
I adore this post and completely agree about the joy of Autumn. It has always been my favourite season. 🙂
Oh what a delightful joyous post Cynthia .. and please thank Hamlin for the lovely images. Enjoy your Autumn, such a beautiful season …
I love this joyful post, Cynthia! You are very persuasive; maybe I will find some joy rather than wistful sadness this autumn. Hamlin’s photographs get better and better!
I’ll pass on the compliment, Clare. Thank you. Meanwhile, as you know, those uplifting posts are meant as much for me as for you. It’s a way of reminding myself, even preaching to myself.
Yes, I can appreciate that.
And a joy to read your post!
How interesting! Wishing you many joyful days in the upcoming seasons!
What a lovely – and joyful! – walk through the year and the seasons. I, too, am grateful to be alive exactly where I am and when. Thanks, Hamlin, for the lovely photos, too.