Delight in Small Things

May 6, 2010

It is so easy to descend into a rut. And sometimes it is necessary to keep some stability in a disordered life or confusing existence. Many have said that a daily repetition of some wholesome thing is more than just wholesome. My daily walk has for several years taken me along the Willamette River near my home. The old logging road that was used to transport logs out of the forest to the river for rafting to the mill has become a tarmac ribbon of easy striding with mile markers and benches. In the same park there are two forest walks with wood chip trails and combining these with the tarmac I can easily put in a happy three, four of even five mile stroll in the sun, hail, snow, frost, gale or whatever weather conditions prevail. One of the forest trails has a short gap in the wood screen that opens onto a large field. The edge is soon to be a thick hedge of brambles, but the field itself is going over to weeds and clover. I often came to the edge of this field and stood watching, waiting to see perhaps some deer grazing or a hawk diving. Over the years and in the scores of times I had been there I failed to notice that a swell-worn path ran away from the gap skirting the field alongside the river. It was this path that I took  just a few days ago and found that it continues to follow the river for a half mile before climbing out of the flood plain to a road along which I drive almost daily and yet had not noticed this access point.

It’s not so much that the views and perspectives were so astonishingly grand or special that I should regret not having been more observant or curious. Rather it was that I found a delight in a small new thing. It was refreshing. And on top of some stressful weeks and events it was so welcome. 

My cynical half chimes in with the question about how soon will this new thing become routine and liturgical. perhaps it might and it will have a value even so, I reply. But for the immediate future it has a fascination, reflecting my remaining ability to be surprised of which I am glad and, obviously as I am writing this, a need to be so impressed.

A small new thing. I welcome you and all that are to follow.

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