What is delight? This is something I’ve been pondering for a while.

Delight is the foundation of much of my work. I try to portray aspects of our world in ways that make one stop and, with a sense of happy surprise or an “oh, I never saw it that way” feeling, see in a new way.  There’s often an element of joy and surprise with delight.  Delight has a way of waking you up both mentally and spiritually.

Delight is an attitude, an expectant, active way of seeing and being in the world. The cool thing is, delight exists more if we are looking for or expecting it. Delight is, in large part, a choice. Delight can be given, it can be received. It is smaller, yet at the same time, bigger than happiness. Delight is hopeful.

I confess I have a history with the word delight.  As a child, my mother always told me that my name, Gail, meant “source of delight”.  To be told that as a child, instilled in me the belief in the existence of delight and my capacity to both offer and receive it.  When I was in my twenties, my mother gave me this tiny sculpture of a girl jumping rope. She said that it represented the delight that she saw in me as a child.  It still sits on my kitchen windowsill as a reminder to never lose that attitude.

Open to Delight ©Gail S. Haile

Being open to delight doesn’t make you a Pollyanna, excessively or blindly optimisticIt simply means that we tend to see what we expect or what we are looking for.  The world is only too eager to share sad and terrible things so there’s little chance of  being unaware of them.   Being open to delight can, at the very least, provide balance.

Towards the end of each month this year, I will list a few things, in words as well as pictures, that have brought me delight in the previous few weeks.  It would be fun, as well, if you would leave comments describing how you have been open to delight.

A few of the things on my list of delights for January include:

  • Spotting a brilliant crimson cardinal on a snow covered branch on my way to the gym on a brutally cold morning.

  • Recognizing the handwriting on an envelope in the mail basket as that of  an dear friend with whom I’d lost touch.

  • Seeing swirly frost patterns on the bedroom window with morning light streaming through them.

  • Playing with a fun new lens.  

  • Watching the goldfinches return to our bird feeder.

  • Hearing my husband’s laugh.

  • And in these images of delight (click on the images to enlarge them):


How have you experienced delight lately?