Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Simple Pleasures

As a culture, we seem to be getting harder and harder to entertain. I've seen numerous news stories lately, for example, about people who climb high places (buildings, bridges, etc.), make videos of themselves doing so, then post these to the Internet.

I guess I'm going in the opposite direction. First, the less I have to do with technology these days, the better. I find more enjoyment these days in what I call simple pleasures.

And just what are these simple pleasures?

One simple pleasure that tops the list is just a nice, cooling breeze. In fact, there is little more that I appreciate than a nice breeze at the right time. When hiking and I emerge from a wooded tract, sometimes a refreshing breeze will strike me full in the face, instantly cooling me. Or sometimes, that cooling breeze hits as I top a crest or ridge. Even when working in the yard on a hot day, a cool breeze can go far.

And in a similar vein, what is better than a cool drink of water on a hot day, especially when you've been toiling away at something. On one particular difficult hike, I recall how refreshing it was to stop by a pool of water and refresh our feet as we sipped from our water bottles. It doesn't get much better than that!

But I also enjoy a good cup of coffee. I never was much of a coffee drinker growing up. Sure, I'd drink a cup from time to time, but it was never anything I craved. Today, though, I look forward each day to that rich cup of full-bodied coffee that helps me start my day. And I really enjoy a good cup of coffee when driving down the highway on a long road trip. Perhaps my favorite time to enjoy a good cup is when I'm sitting at a video poker machine in my favorite Vegas casino. But then, a cup of hot coffee on a cool morning in the high country around a campfire is hard to beat. Yeah, coffee is good.

Good food is on my list of simple pleasures as well. I don't need to eat in fancy restaurants. Oh, don't get me wrong. I enjoy a well-prepared meal in a nice restaurant, but day in and day out, give me some simple filling fare and I'm quite happy. Donna and I have our regular eateries here in San Angelo where the two of us eat quite well for under $15 combined. To be honest, these are the places I enjoy going to again and again. I'm always in search of that perfect cheeseburger or an authentic chicken fried steak. And if you've read my blog much at all, you know how I crave BBQ, especially in the central Texas meat markets. I just want tasty food that satisfies my cravings; I don't need a fancy setting or arrogant wait staff to make me happy.

And is there a better way to spend time on a cold, rainy day than with a good book. I'm talking about a book where you can't wait to turn that page to see what happens next. Combine that good book with a good cup of coffee and you have something approaching a perfect day.

These are just a few of my simple pleasures, but there are many, many more. The laughter of a young child. The howl of a coyote just down from you campsite in a canyon. The view from a mountain top. The smell of a camp fire on a cool morning. That first cold front that moves through in the fall following a hot, dry summer. The smell of rain or freshly mowed grass.

No, I don't need fancy tools and restaurants. Give me the simple pleasures any day.

I think we could all benefit from living a bit more simply.

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