I was reminded, recently, of a day last August when I was sitting in a café in Buena Vista, Colorado. It was a resupply day for me during my attempt to thru hike the Colorado Trail (CT). A friend had driven for four hours and graciously picked me up at the top of Cottonwood Pass where the CT crosses a highway at an elevation of 12,142 feet.
At that point I had backpacked about 220 miles of the trail (I ended up doing about 320 miles and hope to finish the rest of it this coming summer). As we were sitting in the café my friend asked me what I missed most while out on the trail. Since I was scarfing down a huge lunch, she probably thought that my answer would be about food. My reply, I believe, surprised her: “Sitting in a chair.” I responded.
After going for days on end where the options for sitting were: the ground, or a log, or a rock….. the simple joy of settling into a chair was, to me, a profound luxury. It is often the simplest pleasures in life…. the common things in our lives….. that we so often take for granted …that can lead to an unequivocal amount of gratitude and joy. If we pause for a moment in our hectic daily lives to reflect on them, embrace them, relish them, honor them, there is no telling how much happiness we can find in a single day.
Take your pleasures in simple things: lying on your back at night and looking up at the stars, a fresh cup of coffee/tea in the morning, watching the sunrise, watching the sunset, a chocolate dessert, making someone smile, a gentle breeze, a piece of pizza, a warm cup of soup, finding a heart shaped rock, watching animals in nature, a homemade meal that someone cooks for you, the warm love of a family pet, doing something with a friend, a new flower in the spring, trail magic, trail families, a trail maintained by selfless volunteers, a cold drink on a hot summer day, the flight of a butterfly, dancing in the kitchen, a friendly chat with the cashier at the supermarket, listening to water flowing, an unexpected hug, a soft caring touch, an unexpected message from a friend, helping someone that needs assistance.
For me in 2022, I don’t want to go chasing what I am told is important in my life by marketing companies. I don’t want to go chasing happiness or wait for someone else to shape my life. I want to be present. To pay attention. To accept things for how and what they are and lean….as best as I can….. toward the Light. Toward kindness and compassion.
Whatever is beautiful. Whatever is meaningful. Whatever simple things bring you happiness. May it be yours throughout the coming year. The end of the year is a time for remembrance. We take stock of where we came from, and have a moment to think about where we are going, as we pursue the future with hope. May your new year be all that you hope for, and may it be blessed with love and friendship and an occasional chair to sit in. If any of you are interested in my some of my thoughts on hiking the Colorado Trail, please let me know and I will send you a copy. You can see my photos of the CT at: https://www.robertwinslowphoto.com/Recreation/Hiking-and-Backpacking-Adventures/Colorado-Trail-/