July 14, 2009

the love of small things

There are some days that just scream summer.

Luckily for me, today is one of those days. The combination of doing pilates, swimming, hot tubbing, and Dairy Queening with one of my best friends has been unbeatable. Later, we will commence scrapbooking and stocking on candy for a midnight showing of Harry Potter. Aside from exercising my bragging rights for having an altogether too-perfect day, there is a point to all of this. Last night I went to our weekly home evening activity with a bunch of kids from my neighborhood. Sister Madsen gave us a brief lesson about how the stages of our lives should be more than just "getting through it." Even though as college students, we're in what is meant to be a transitory phase of exploration and change, that is no excuse to purposely keep ourselves aloof and unrooted from what we're doing. That really hit home for me. How many times have I reassured myself that life will be better "when this test is over" or "once I finish the semester"? How often do I deny myself the opportunity to create a home wherever I am just because it seems temporary?

I started thinking about the quality of my life
as in, my life right nowas the activity continued. We ate popsicles on the lawn and played water balloon volleyball. I took off my shoes because I felt like being barefoot and licking on a dripping lime flavored chunk of ice would signal to the universe that I'm ready to call this place home. Why? Because I said so.

Just yesterday, I finished re-reading a favorite book of mine. It's called
The Strangeness of Beauty and you all should read it. (Why? Because I said so.) At one point, the old samurai mother makes an observation that just jumped off the page at me. "Generally, people don't want glory. They want small gentle pleasures like baseball. Have you ever observed a baseball game? ... There you are, sitting on a hard surface, in a position of discomfort, participating in a slow-moving ritual. Little happens. Your mind wanders. Gradually, you notice the small moments that make life rich. The sun's heat, the ball's arc." She goes on with her wisdom: "It's this love of small things, by most people everywhere, that just might keep us from war. The most powerful things are small: the taste on our tongues of our favorite childhood foods, the rub of skin against skin."

It seems to me like summer is the perfect time to become "truly engaged in life's essence." So go outside. Take off your shoes and feel the blades of grass between your toes. Lick a popsicle, or your favorite childhood treat. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket, and meander over to the nearest park. Go put on your bathing suit and start your perfect summer day. Or, maybe better yet, head to your public library and pick up a copy of The Strangeness of Beauty. You won't regret it. I spent a good half hour in the library last week, just smelling the books and rifling through them to find some good reads for these long and lazy days that I love so much.

What are you waiting for?

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