Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 26, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – September 26, 2004 – I had intended to take today off, but I ended up spending the afternoon with two different clients, at opposite ends of the city. It’s seven o’clock now and I’m back home. It was a glorious day in Toronto. Sunny – not hot – clear, blue cloudless sky. It’s the weather we should have had in August, but didn’t.
Tonight will cool – easy sleeping weather. Tomorrow is supposed to be another similar day. I could live with this weather for the rest of my life – unfortunately I’d have to leave Canada. As I travelled across the city to my last appointment I noticed that the traffic was light, even for a Sunday, and most drivers didn’t seem to be in a hurry. How refreshing to enjoy a drive through the city without the ususal chaos of crazed, impatient people cutting in and out of traffic – intent on reaching their destination “first”.
I sat stopped at a lengthy red light, listening to a beautiful piece of opera on a classical station – the sun warm on my arm – I thought about how much the simple things in life please me. Now don’t go and get this confused with Paris Hilton and “The Simple Life”. I’m speaking about uncomplicated things (we all know how complicated Paris Hilton is) that happen during the course of a day. I revel in the feeling of the sun on my back in the morning as I walk Augie.
I enjoy watching the look of anticipation on Ziggy’s little mug as I get his food ready at the kitchen counter. I love my morning coffee. I appreciate the look of my freshly made bed every morning because I know how much I like to turn the covers back at night when I go to bed. I enjoy the luxury of my morning shower and the sweet smell of the soap and shampoo. There is no nicer feeling than drying off with a fluffy towel and stepping into fresh, clean clothes.
I bought an Innukshuk this past July in Unionville. An Innukshuk is a grouping of rocks piled together to resemble the shape of a man. They are common in the Canadian Arctic and are often used as a point of orientation. An Innukshuk can save a person’s life in a storm or act as a storage depot for food or information. It has purpose, substance and solidity. My Innukshuk is about six inches tall. He’s made of fourteen highly polished stones in hues of grey, green, cream, burgundy and white. He stands on my desk beside my telephone, and in short order has become an integral part of my office. I smile whenever I look at him. He is such a simple, inexpensive entity, but he brings me great joy.
Right behind him is my cobalt blue candlestick. I like to have a candle burning when I write. I think of great writers as they sat in garrets, with candles burning. They painstakingly put quill to parchment and created great literature. Fortunately, I’m not writing with a feather but I love the simple pleasure of a flickering candle. I like walking down the hallway to my den and seeing Augie and Ziggy curled up in their respective beds, sleeping warmly without a care in the world. I love watching them open their eyes at my arrival, stretch and then fall peacefully back to sleep. Such an honest pleasure.
I love my home. It’s warm, comfortable, welcoming, safe – not grand or elaborate. It has given me roots. It represents my place in life. I was channel surfing last night and came across a program showing the homes of wealthy business people and celebrities. They ranged from a paltry seven million dollar Italian villa to an ostentatious one hundred and twenty-eight million dollar English mansion on billionaire’s row. I tried to imagine a forty-five thousand square foot house. How would you ever find a simple pleasure in the heart of such pomposity?
Today I saw an article about the Pope’s declaration that there is a growing discrepancy between the rich and the poor in the world. He went on to say that all countries have an obligation to rectify this situation. The speech was made from his summer palace, and I wondered if the irony was lost on the Pontiff, and if he ever thought about sharing the monumental wealth of the Catholic Church with the poor. Heck – what if he just sold the summer palace and kept the Vatican? Wouldn’t that be a simple way to alleviate some of the suffering in the world? It gives one pause for thought doesn’t it?
Back to simple things. I watered my garden this morning and noticed that the Granny Smith green leaves of my Dogwood have turned to a deep, rich burgundy and the ferns have started to brown around the edges. That didn’t alter the lovely experience of watching the water from my garden hose arc over the trees to create a rainbow and then fall in a shimmering spray on the autumn leaves.
The lush green of my summer garden is giving way to fall colours and cooler nights are here now. More evenings will be spent indoors now, and another simple pleasure I enjoy is sitting in my den with a cup of tea, and snuggling under my favourite, fringed throw while I watch a movie. The Alphabet Boys are never far away. It will soon be fireplace weather and time to bring out warm wool sweaters, fall coats and scarves. Thanksgiving is close at hand, Halloween pumpkins will soon be carved for witching night and then we’ll be planning Christmas parties and celebrations to welcome the new year.
One day soon I’ll be walking down the street and fall leaves will have covered the sidewalks, as nature settles into the soft gray days that precede winter. I make it a daily practice now to look for small pleasures as the day progresses. Something as simple as watching the inevitable change in the seasons can be enjoyable.
It doesn’t take money, prestige, a big house, a flashy car, expensive vacations, posh clothes or a grand title to enjoy life. Joy can be found by having an open mind, a tender heart, a forgiving nature, a sense of humour, a kind word for others and an on-going sense of curiosity. Simple pleasures are a gift to my soul. They lighten my mood. They make me grateful that I’m wise enough to appreciate their presence, as they steal into my daily consciousness.