17 Insanely Special Things Anybody Can Find and Feel Awesome
Which ones have you stumbled upon? Which ones should you start looking for today?
Golden doldfinch
Golden Goldfinches
Forget the bluebird of happiness! Every spring, the young male American goldfinches exchange their drab brown coloring for a fresh chestful of brilliant yellow feathers—a flash of color that will sweep by your window on dark, almost-spring mornings like a daffodil on wings.
Gin martini
Grandma Drinking Gin
It's true! Grandma wore lipstick. In her 30s, Grandma liked to put on a cocktail dress, send the five kids to bed, snap on the radio, invite over a few neighbors for martinis and kiss Grandpa on the lips...while somebody took her picture. Looking at the evidence 50 years later means only one thing: Joy is your genetic inheritance.
Cloud rainbow
Fire Rainbows!!!!
Here's what you need: (1) cirrus clouds, (2) an elevation of 20,000 feet, (3) rays of sunlight angled at 58 degrees. All of which creates what I like to think of as a Game of Thrones rainbow...which is just a regular rainbow, only sexier and smacking of ancient dragons.
On the Banks of Plum Creek
A Lady on the Bus Reading On the Banks of Plum Creek
Not only is a grown-up reading your favorite children's author (Laura Ingalls Wilder), but she is also reading the not-famous book by this author. Which means it was fated. You have found a friend, even if it's too uncomfortable to go up, interrupt her and explain this.
Child's drawing
Once upon a time, in the age before essays (meaning: second grade), you wrote a report on why Crogs—cats with amphibian qualities—should be the first lab-engineered animal in the world, or you wrote a comic book with a hero named Super Toaster. When you find these pieces of forgotten genius in your childhood bedroom closet, anything you want to accomplish seems possible. And maybe even easier.
Double-yolked hard-boiled egg
A Double-Yolked Hard-Boiled Egg
This is especially joyous the week after Easter or Passover, when you've already consumed a full dozen.
A Very Small Girl Playing a Very Big Tuba
A very evil cat
Weeping cherry tree
Weeping Cherry Trees
Take the fragile beauty of a cherry tree. Add the mysterious power of a weeping willow (why exactly do sad trees make us ache with happiness?). Cross them, and what you get is a waterfall of blossoms.
Almond Roca
A Bowl of Almond Roca
This is fancy candy—candy from your childhood that only appeared during winter holidays and only at your neighbors' house, where you snuck pieces from the tin on the kitchen counter every time you pretended to go to the bathroom. And yet! Your accountant's receptionist has a whole bowl on her desk. Right there! Free! During tax week!
Buttercups in grass
Random Buttercups on the Grassy Part of the Office Parking Lot
Holding buttercup to chin
Yellow Pollen on the Face of Your Co-Worker
(Who also found the buttercups and rubbed one on her chin to see if she still liked butter...)
Buttered popcorn
Real Live Butter
And salt. On movie popcorn, in a small, dark theater that time forgot.
Airmail letter
Airmail Letters
Those wispy envelopes with red-white-and-blue borders, foreign stamps and that unmistakable scent of glamour and international intrigue? Where did they go? Getting one is the mailbox equivalent of a four-leaf clover or an Indian penny. It must be saved for posterity.
A watermelon the size of a grape that tastes like a cucumber. Because Mother Nature has a penchant for invention and a cute, quirky sense of humor.
Little League game
Little League Games
No, you aren't a team parent. No, this team is not going to be sent to Japan or Cuba or Omaha to represent the best young players in the world ever. But watching a bunch of random kids hit (and miss) fly balls, kind of steal second base and wildly slide for home pretty much affirms all the goodness in the world. Even if you don't like baseball.
Fortune cookie
A Not-Silly Fortune Cookie
Sometimes only discovered by ordering mu shu pork over and over and over, until finally you crack open the dumpling-looking, cardboard-tasting treat and find a missive that instantly helps you with your particular problem. Such as this one, which I found just before deciding to leave one job for another: "Fear knocks on the door. Faith answers...but finds nobody there."

Leigh Newman is the Deputy Editor of and the author of Still Points North: One Alaskan Childhood, One Grown-up World, One Long Journey Home.

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