With earthquakes and tsunamis and rising waters and falling rocks and mudslides and drought and famine and war and ginormous executive bonuses and rampant job loss happening all over the world and right here in our own country, I am taking more time these days to focus inwardly a little. To take stock of the many blessings that I have known in my life. When I am feeling most effusively thankful, I pull up old photos and look back at the people and places that have brought joy and laughter, new perspectives and old world cities into my world. Today I am celebrating a few of my life's favorite simple pleasures. Care to join me?
Not much makes me happier than sharing a slice of the best key lime pie in Charlotte with a loved one. Well, one thing that makes me happier is eating that hunk of pie without having to share it, but sometimes I do invite others to partake of it with me... On the occasion captured in this photo, Heather and I shared not only the pie, but also the urge to photograph the pie. It was truly a work of art. Within minutes, however, it was gone. Lovely!
Ours is a sports loving family. We have been known to attend athletic events where we don't know anyone participating- and I'm not even referring to professional sports. On this particular night, we were guests of a friend who has season tickets to the UNC Charlotte 49ers basketball games. Can you see the 49er mascot hoisted on the celebrating fans? He disappeared into the sea of revelers just seconds after this photo was taken. I hope he's okay now. Go Niners!
When it snows, I stay inside. Period. Well, unless I need a good workout - in which case I go outside and shovel the driveway. After which, I rush back indoors, sweaty and cold and sore. From the safety of my kitchen, however, I thoroughly enjoy taking photos of snowy formations on the back deck. On this particular day, I was entralled by the way in which the snow formed delicate piles and peaks on the frame underneath the seat. I admit to staring at that peak as well as the one on the birdfeeder in the backyard for inordinately long periods of time that day. Many wonders of this world I live in fascinate me.
One of the simplest and most profound pleasures in life, at least for me, is eating out. Going out to eat with new friends, especially. A couple of weeks ago, I went out with a new group of friends to celebrate the birthdays of two of them. We talked and laughed and ate and drank and talked and laughed so more. I don't remember much of what we said, but I do remember how welcomed and accepted and loved I felt. I am enormously glad I snapped this photo as a momento of that evening. I am even happier to know those amazing women and to have been included in their number.
I don't draw or paint much. But I do make collages. Here is one I made that brings a smile to my face every time I look at it. (Actually this one has far more writing and far fewer other elements than most of my creations.) In it, I pay homage to one of the most emotionally transformative and spiritually formative trips I have ever taken - the one I took to Italy less than a month after September 11, 2001. My heart and soul have not yet recovered from that journey - and for that, I am enormously grateful.
Of late, I have been feeling that old familiar feeling of "itchy feet" - a name my niece gave to our shared and perpetual yearning for the road. Because I cannot escape physically at the moment, I have given my mind and spirit leave to wander. I have flipped thru photo albums and travel journals. I have clipped words and images out of National Geographic Traveler and affixed them in and on the outside of my journals.
Apparently my subconscious is in the same restless state as my conscious mind. Lately I have had many dreams of getting lost. In the dreams, I am not afraid or anxious. In fact, I am quite happy to be displaced, forgotten, and alone. After the first few dreams, I asked myself - why that dream? It didn't take me long to figure it out.
Because one of my life's simplest and greatest pleasures is to get lost.
Lost in the pleasure of a meal I didn't have to prepare.
Lost in the joy of cheering on a team.
Lost on a bubbling river of conversation.
Lost in the back streets or alleys of a tiny Tuscan village.
Lost in wonder, joy, and love.
Hear my recently oft-repeated plea: "American Airlines,* take me away!"
* Or Iberia or British Airways or Delta or US Air...