Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Simple Pleasures

     Anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I start Christmas shopping in April.  I’m not sure why everyone grumbles and rolls their eyes when they discover this particular tidbit, but it happens all the time.  Someone actually asked me how I could think of Christmas when it was 95 degrees outside.  I said, “Easy.  I don’t think of Christmas.  I think of the person and what would make him happy.”  That answer is usually met with either disbelief or a nodding head.  This seems to be happening more and more often and I think I know why.

      People have lost the art of simple pleasures. 

     When I am out at a store, whether it’s the middle of April or the day before Christmas Eve, if I see something that a dear friend or loved one might need or enjoy, I get it.  By the time Christmas arrives, I have everything I need for gift giving, all thoughtfully purchased, all just waiting for a festive wrapping.  I have no debt to worry about in January and everyone always says, “How did you guess I wanted/needed this?!”  It’s the process that I enjoy: thinking about the person I love, imagining how much they’ll love what I’ve chosen, wrapping it with a loving flourish, and then drinking in the joyous look on their face when my idea proves successful.  It’s a small thing, but I like simple.   

      I’ve been teased for my simple pleasures.  The smell of Buttercup’s hair when she was a baby was about the most heavenly thing I could think of, but whenever I would kiss her little head and inhale her sweet scent, there was always someone there to say, “Did you just smell her hair?”  Why, yes I did, thank you.  I also said a prayer of thanks that the sun was turning the mountains purple as it set in the sky, because purple is one of my favorite colors.  I paused to marvel at the tiny blade of grass that had somehow summoned the courage to peek through a crack in the concrete even though that guy with the cigar laughed at me.  And I even ignored The Yankee when he said I was weird for reading the dictionary and being excited over some new word I discovered. 

    I like fine quality, beautiful things, and entertainment as much as anyone else, I suppose, but not to the point of panic at the thought of being left to my own devices.  I will agree that a power outage is a miserably inconvenient occurrence, but I am not crippled by it.  It is difficult being a writer when a computer is not functioning, but this gives me a reason to pull out my oil lantern, paper, and pen.  The writing flows differently when the hand pens more slowly than the fingers can type, but I welcome the break, even if it is forced by a tree falling over onto the power lines down the road from my house.  Perhaps it is nature’s way of forcing us to slow down, take a look, and delight in the simple — something I do on a regular basis anyway.  Is it possible to be built that way, or is there some sort of training involved?  Are some people naturally drawn to the simply exquisite while others require flashy entertainment at all times?  After the ridicule I’ve encountered over the years, I’ve often pondered this thought. 

      I think Mom is the main person responsible for cultivating this love of finding happiness is small things.  She is the first one who pointed out the beauty of a sunny yellow buttercup growing in a field of emerald green grass.  She showed me that writing a thank you note by hand was one way to bring pleasure to others.  She taught me that the scent of clean sheets could rival any perfume.  In the same way that she showed me how to relish the joy of the oft-overlooked, I am teaching my Buttercup.  Honestly though, Buttercup is an easy child to teach about simple pleasures.  She is the one who notices a stray fleck of glitter on her clothes and marvels at how beautiful it is in the light.  She holds up a loaf of freshly baked bread and beckons me to “smell the delicious pretty” with her.  She thanks me when I wear makeup and tells me that my eyes are “beautiful with color on them”.  She inspires me. 

      Yep, I Christmas shop in April.  I guess I’m just built that way. 

© Bertha Grizzly 2011.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

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