While visiting a gorgeous Japanese garden, I noticed a young man squatting in a patch of grass with his back toward me. I couldn’t see what he was doing so I asked a nearby employee, who explained to me that he was cutting the grass with a small pair of scissors. I walked around the path till I could see and sure enough, that’s what he was doing. Quiet, content, snipping away.
I thought about that guy last weekend when I was at the cabin. The cabin is nestled in the forest under huge evergreens that are always shedding their needles, which, no matter how often I vacuum, find their way inside and settle down on the rug, the floor, and the furniture.
When I noticed them scattered around one afternoon, I leaned down to pick up one or two, and then a few more. Before I knew it, instead of dragging the vacuum out, I was methodically moving around the room, calm and content, picking up pine needles. I wasn’t in a hurry, and it seemed like a pleasant way to spend some time. It was meditative in a way, and oddly satisfying. Very zen.
Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because I wasn’t trying to be efficient or to achieve any particular result. I was just picking up pine needles. I wasn’t irritated about them. On the contrary, it became more like a little game, a little hunt for hidden pine needles. It was fun. And then it was done. So simple.
Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world. ~Oscar Wilde