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Simple Pleasures

My entire life, I have been easily pleased in many ways. As I grew older, it gradually came to my awareness that not all people are that way, and in fact some have evinced scorn at what they considered my naivete or lack of sophistication. And for a while, that stung, though yet I could find no fault in myself for my approach.

In more recent years, I have come to think that mine is a much more sophisticated and wise approach to life than many understand. For one thing, if nothing else, I am happier and more cheerful much of the time than many people are, simply because I neither get angry at things that others get angry at, nor do I feign some kind of pseudo-sophisticated ennui at things that I truly find delightful. If that makes me a fool in the eyes of some, so be it.

Yet still, despite all this, I find that my delight in the simple pleasures of life sometimes leaves people wondering, and I have to admit that I wonder in turn how it is that people can move through life without taking greater pleasure in it. After all, life is truly made up of all the little things cumulatively; compared to the big things, there are thousands more little things--small pleasures, small events--to enjoy. So why not enjoy them? Why wait until something "big" happens to allow oneself to be happy or to experience pleasure?

When I talk about the little things, I mean any number of things of nature or humankind involving the senses or sparking my appreciation for all things well-made.

It could be the lovely color and sweet, deep fragance of a rose blooming on a rose bush I selected and planted with my own two hands. (I have about 50 rose bushes--how I crammed them all onto my small suburban lot, I still wonder to this day! And some are even yet blooming despite the chilling cold rains and high winds. Some time I will tell you of how sturdy and wonderful roses are, especially roses grown on their own roots, such as are sold by Vintage Gardens, which I have the great good fortune of living just the next town over from.)

It could be the way one of my cats, whom I have seen do this a thousand of times before, turns his or her head or blinks trustingly at me or cuddles up next to me, purring for all he or she is worth.

It could be a tiny weed blooming in my lawn.

It could be the staccato chatter of a hummingbird visiting my yard and chewing me out for disturbing its nectar gathering.

It could be the soft, subtle colors of a sunset casting that otherwordly light over everything before the last of the light fades.

It could be a well-crafted tool, such as a cooking implement or something for my tool chest, delighting me with its workmanship and usefulness and the sheer aesthetics of it all.

It could be the colors used in a painting, or the smell of cookies baking, or the sound of my daughter laughing, or the lap of waters against a boat that I am on, or the gentle susurration of the waves at the often-rough and wild Northern Californian coast.

It could be the tiniest of fragements of California jade collected at one of those beaches by lying in the rough sand patiently and contentedly sifting through the course grains while the sun slowly turns my bones to toffee.

It could be a well-made turn of a phrase, or the completion of a task well-done and long-worked-on, or appreciation from others for something small that I have done.

it can even be--and perhaps here you will laugh--the discovery that one's shower curtain liner does not have to be vinyl, but instead can be of a tightly-woven fabric that feels much better against the skin and is more practical because it can be washed and because it breathes, so it does not mildew nearly as readily as vinyl. Okay, now you really are laughing. But truly, every time I take a shower now, I think to myself how much more aesthetically pleasing my new shower curtain liner is. Multiply that by how many times I have showered since buying that liner (in November), and you have a lot of little moments of pleasure. Sure, eventually, I may stop appreciating it quite as much, but I have certainly gotten a lot of pleasure mileage out of that liner already. If I never appreciate it again, I have still had many moments of a small delight. And that is just one thing.

There are so many things that can bring either a momentary or longer-lasting delight and sense of joy, however small, into our lives, that, although I do understand sadness and melancholy and worry, and am certainly no stranger to any of them, yet I find that on the whole, life is a source of joy for me. It needs no reasons, though yet I find them (and the finding of those reasons enriches my life as well). It just is, and it is good.

For the many small joys of life, and for the fact that I somehow came into this life with a great and deep capacity for enjoying them, I am very grateful. Thank you, dear Creators, for all your gifts.

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