He looked down, holding a white cup in one hand and a silver jug in another. The sliver jug contained milk, warmed with a steam wand on a professional espresso machine. With deft moves of the wrist, he poured the milk into the cup, forming latte art. Building stacks. In that moment, I could see a great sense of focus on the face of the barista: as if all that mattered in the moment was doing one's best at pouring the latte. He seemed in his element.
A few months ago, someone came up to me at a train station and asked to record me playing piano. A film student. They said they had a college assignment to record someone in their element for class. I gave an affirmative response; playing the piano is a delight unto itself, but someone asking to record you without prompt is doubly special. An indication of sincere interest. Her prompt was to capture someone in their element.
Earlier today, I wrote about a woman who was focused on reading a book, smiling as she read on many occasions. She was in her element, too: reading words that brought about a visceral contentment. An amusement.
When have you seen people in their element? The moments when someone is intensely focused on a task, trying to do one's best. If you are in need of a writing prompt, I would love to read stories of your encountering people in their element.