Complex world/simple pleasures

Not that anyone has complained, but I have been feeling guilty about abandoning this blog for over a month. Maybe not enough is going on in my life to write about. Maybe too much is going on to write about. In either case, even though or perhaps because the world seems terrible of late, I am pausing to remind myself that grace and beauty still exist. Here are some examples from just the last few weeks.

One of the wedding guests captured the feelings of love

My charming niece of Threepinederoga fame got married. This was truly a collaborative affair with friends and family exercising their skills at cooking, flower-arranging, decorating, photography and, spectacularly, home-brewing. (One tasted like coffee, another like bananas). All weddings are sweet, but this one – the joining of friends-since-high-school into partners-for-life was hip, mellow, unique and convivial. And that minister sure could dance.

The porch got painted. I started it, and Brian took over. It is improved. I rewarded it with a couple of $3.99 mums. And after 2 years at the top of the project list, it leaves an opening for another home improvement effort. Suggestions?

When Lo was a tiny thing, I used to wonder if she recognized us from week to week or, given her people-loving personality, was she simply happy for the attention. At 17 months old, she now greets us with the enthusiasm of a puppy. She runs back and forth between us, hugging our legs. She does her signature “fancy feet” move – a hybrid stomp/shuffle. She grins. We grin. I think she knows us.

I like my job. I feel both useful and unnecessary, which is the perfect mix. I am challenged by the work and can’t rely on my former crutches of knowledge and authority. I love my co-workers.

Taking a recent walk along the river was enhanced by an unusual number of dogs – big, small, young, old, intent and meandering. No one appreciates a nature walk like a dog and their presence made an already enjoyable pastime even more so.

Our friends from Florida visited. We ate good food, raised some glasses, looked at old photos and had had lots of laughs.

I have chopped more vegetables in the last few months than I thought possible. Dinner prep is the most mindful activity I know and thus eating more plants has led to more inner peace. I have also worked on my tofu technique, which is less than zen but is no longer stress-inducing.

The world is large and its problems are immense. We can feel helpless and hopeless. I can feel guilty that my life is so simple and good amidst so much suffering. My good fortune rests in the palms of family and friends and I am grateful for each of them. I am grateful for work that is worthwhile and for knowing I am not important. For weddings. For the bounty of food and the habit of preparing it. I am grateful for babies and dogs and babies who act like dogs.

Lo says “take a moment to enjoy the simple pleasures that abound.”

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