We had the pleasure of staying at the Heritage Inn on the British Virgin Island of Tortola a few years ago. And for those two weeks, we became a hit with the owner’s dogs, Bozo and Dipsy; and they, in turn, became a hit with us.
A routine in our relationship with the dogs quickly developed. Each morning as Bill and I made breakfast, our two canine friends quietly appeared on the deck, breathing in the aroma of scrambled eggs and oatmeal coming from our little kitchen. It must have been the clanking of the dishes—or maybe it was simply the smell of our hot breakfast food—that signaled to them it was time to visit the nice Midwest couple in room #8.
The daily ritual
Like clockwork, they’d show up and chill just on the other side of our screen door. Bozo and Dipsy would watch our every move with intense focus, in the most polite and respectful manner. They wouldn’t make a sound or bother us or interrupt our cooking procedure. Sometimes we’d pretend for a moment not to know they were there so that we could slyly watch them out of the corners of our eyes. Those sweet dogs melted our hearts!
We’d always go out on the deck to eat our breakfast, enjoying the view across the bay which looked out toward St. Thomas. The dogs stayed and watched us, barely blinking an eye. We’d talk to them and tell them our plans for the day and wondered if they had any input. Usually they just smiled back.
When we left for the afternoon to explore the island, the dogs walked us to our car as a ceremonial send-off. When we came home, they’d saunter over to the car to greet us and then walk us back to our room. Once again they’d relax on our deck with us as we enjoyed happy hour. And we always gave them hugs before heading off to bed.
If we hung around the Inn during the day, we’d often find the dogs taking refuge from the hot Caribbean sun underneath our car. See the black grease patch on the top of Bozo’s head in the photo above?
Magic on the last day of vacation
The best was the final day. We had to set the alarm for 4:00 a.m. to catch our flight off the island. The sky was pitch black and sprinkled with stars. The moon was perfectly round and full, glowing over the island and calm sea like a gigantic floodlight illuminating the earth.
It was so quiet and still that it seemed like the entire island was still asleep. So before showering or getting ready, we wanted to grab this opportunity. Bill and I came out of our room and quietly tip-toed in our bare feet toward the edge of the hill, holding hands, to revel in this moment.
Without saying a word to each other, we both knew that we needed time to purposefully say “thank you” and “good-bye” to this place that had become a second home to us in a matter of 14 days (did you know we actually won tickets for this trip? Check it out here).
And as we stood in total silence and reverence of nature’s wonder, off in the distance we heard a faint jingle. You know, the kind where you know your dog is on his way to see you. It became a double jingle and got louder and closer. Then Bozo and Dipsy emerged out of the darkness and were magically at our feet, leaning their bodies against us.
How did they know? How did they hear us? And most importantly, what were they doing awake at this hour?
Our hearts were overjoyed as our special Caribbean buddies peacefully rested on the grass below us. They weren’t asking for anything and didn’t even require being acknowledged. They just wanted to be with us to bid us farewell and share in this special moment.
The essence of true joy
So with our arms around each other, Bill and I gazed at the full moon and the shimmery trail of diamonds it left in the bay. Together, all four of us experienced the simplicity of joy in the moment.
Joy doesn’t have to be about activity, accomplishment, or achievement. Rather, it can be about the smell of breakfast, quiet time chilling together, escorting a friend to their car, or just “being there” for each other to marvel at the moon.
Ahhh…the simplicity of joy. I like it. It is truly effortless.
Where do you notice this type of joy showing up in your life?