Simple pleasures are something easily spoken of, but all too often overlooked. With this in mind I’ve been reflecting on the simply joys in life in recent times. This shift in focus is largely due to the goodness I’ve found in the pages of Tom Hodkingson’s most excellent books, ‘How to Be Idle’ and ‘How to Be Free’.
In these books Hodgkinson presents some very intriguing alternatives to life…we can choose not to be defined by money, career and material wealth. Sure some basics are always going to be essential, but beyond that there is so much more to savour in life if only we sit back, draw breath and absorb something new. Like discovering Thoreau’s Walden many years ago, I feel that I have found a lifestyle and cultural soulmate in Tom.
With all this talk of changing perspectives, I wanted to share three simple joys I’ve enjoyed this week as I made my way around this often mad and crazy world.
1. Hot water pouring on a herbal tea bag. I’ve taken to enjoying a cup of herbal tea in the afternoon. After wanting something different from my usual cup of Green or Chai, this week I opted for a blend of St. John’s Wort and Mixed Berry tea. As the hot water pours over the tea bag, the colour of the tea gradually changes from being completely clear to a rich, vibrant purple. It’s impossible to resist such a happy-looking liquid.
2. A rat coming out for a peek in a city street. Walking down to the bookstore on a rainy day is pleasant enough in itself, but when accompanied by a chance sighting of a furry city dweller, it’s even better. With a brief rain shower easing, my little ratty friend ran out from a row of bins and joined those waiting in the taxi queue. He sat and enjoyed the fragrance of the air for a minute or two, until suddenly taking fright and scampering back to his hiding spot. Encountering another sign of life in the city is always a happy thing.
3. Crossing paths with a pigeon. Walking back to my building after lunch, I found myself about to cut across the path of one of the many pigeons that thrive in the city environment. He obviously had important business to conduct in that part of town, with his legs moving as quickly as they could. In all his rush though he still had time to throw me a quick glance as he moved past. Sometimes we forget to look down, but if we always do that we neglect to acknowledge all those others who make the world their home.
Hopefully you experienced some moments of simple joy yourself this week.