Another day, another book. This time it’s ‘Small Pleasures’ from The School of Life. I’m not sure who the author is, or if it is written by more than one person, yet it contains over fifty short essays on things that have given the writer(s) a sense of small pleasure. It’s all a bit Zen and offers an antidote to the hurly burly of modern life where bigger, faster and more expensive is better. It asks us to stop, look and consider the smaller things in life that give us real enjoyment.
Naturally, the small things are very much a personal choice, indeed some of them are quite big and I am not sure I would find pleasure in some of them. It got me thinking, so much so that I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and wrote down the first ten things I could think of that did it for me. With more time I could have come up with others but, like with all lists, it is keeping things off that is the most difficult.
Here are my ten things then, in no particular order:
- A simple flower – The first mexican chocolate dahlia to open from a plant that I thought was long abandoned, a beautiful dark reddish purple with a yellow centre.
- The feel of a new book – Sit back and relax, run your hands across the cover, savour how it feels and the promise it hides within its pages. I also like the smell of new books.
- Silence in the morning – When you come down way before anyone else is up. There is no sound to be heard, even the heating hasn’t come on and you can sit in your favourite chair and think without distraction.
- The shape of an oak leaf – Nature is amazing. I bought an oak sapling that sits in a pot in my back garden and I am in awe as its new leaves unfold with their wondrous shape.
- Cheese scones – What can I say, slightly warm with a hint of mustard and plenty of soft butter.
- Balancing the books – This is a strange one but in one of my roles, other than my own company, I am the treasurer. When there is a lot of money coming in and going out and I have to put it all down in a spreadsheet, I get a real sense of satisfaction when the numbers tally to the penny.
- An idea – They can come to you at any time and in any place. They are your ideas and you are free to explore them at your leisure, mull them over, take them further or even just forget them.
- A child’s laugh – Grandchildren have reminded me how precious time is with a child. To see them play, to see them develop and to hear them laugh are irreplaceable.
- A foreign word in my head – When you are having a conversation, either with someone else or one of those in your own head, you hear a word and its foreign translation skips into your head is magical. If you can think of the word in more than one language, even better.
- A Cauliflower – These are miracles of nature. Their creamy white head is pure mathematics, a fractal in vegetable form. Thinking about their development is mind blowing and they are tasty as well.
There you have it, ten things that give me small pleasure. And yours?