Friday, November 02, 2007

Simple Pleasures

This is going to be a tough blog to write. I want to get it right. I laid in bed thinking about it, probably too much. Here goes:

Yesterday after work, I wanted to go out of the hotel for a bit. My leg is still healing from the infection and the healing is hurting more than the infection did. So the pain is slowing me down a little bit, even so, I couldn't face just sitting in a hotel room. I'd seen an ad in the hotel for a store that specializes in spices from around the world. We love to cook and it seemed the perfect match. We drove around a bit and then found the store in a nondescript plaza. There were hundreds of spices, many I knew and used but more that I didn't. I took the time and picked up all that interested me, smelled at the lids and drank in their flavour.

We left with a bag tucked into my carryall behind the car and then made a stop at the liquour store next door. There's a woman back home, known her for years, who we pick up Long Island Iced Tea for. I slowly navigated through the store, enjoying all the different bottles and colours and the chatter of the clerks on the till. We found what we wanted and, beast of burden I, stuffed it into the bag at the back.

Joe was very aware that I've been fighting both fatigue and pain asked if I wanted him to take me back to the hotel while he went and picked up hot soup for us at the grocery store. I thought for a second, then told him I was having a nice time and didn't want to go back yet. We found a delicious smelling hot soup - lentil chili - and I scooped it out, stopping several times to smell it's fragrence.

On the way out of the store I noticed that the two spindly trees beside the car were filled with hundreds of birds, the racket was incredible. I saw their plump summer fed bodies above me and stopped the chair to watch them hop from branch to branch. Their feathers were the colour of earth, their song was raucous. I know I was sitting there smiling. Joe had loaded stuff into the car and was on his way back to me when a stranger caught his eye, then indicated me and said, "It's nice that he can still enjoy the simple pleasures."

We both looked at him startled and he smiled, a nice smile and then walked on. My first response was to be ticked at that the idea that disability denys me so much but at least I can enjoy the smell of roses on the path. Grrrrr.

But, honestly, I do enjoy these things more than I used to. As a walker, I'd have gone straight by that tree, I'd have whipped in and out of the spice store without smelling half the spices I smelled, I'd have gone into the liquor store and picked up Donna's booze without noticing the incredible bottles, the glint of colour in the green tea vodka.

I hate admitting this. I don't like the gooey view that disability heightens the senses or awareness. Like we've been taken out of the race and simply have to enjoy life from the sidelines.

Like God planted roses so that the cripples will have something pleasant to distract themselves.

So I'm not saying any of that.

But I am saying, it's nice to finally notice and enjoy the simple pleasures.


Belinda said...

Thank you for sharing your "eye view" of the world, however you got it! It never fails to bring me pleasure.

Betsy said...

I don't often disagree with you, but I have to say that I think one of the most wonderful things about being the mom of a child with T21 (who is hanging out in a wheelchair too!)is that very ability to slow down and meander through life - through milestones, and also, stopping to "smell the roses."

I have seen more of the world through my daughter's eyes in her 10 years of life than I have in the entire collective 40 years of my own.

Its not fluffy or syrupy - you just "get it" - it really is a pretty amazing world.

Kei said...

I think a majority of people need to go through something life-changing in order to enjoy the simple pleasures. Mine was a severe depression that resulted in hospitalization over 15 years ago.

Enjoy your day.

celticmystyc said...

The delicate colors in a feather, the details and angles in architecture, the nuances of scent, the silky softness of a petal...You've got me in a big hurry to slow down and enjoy LIFE. Many of us forget to do that, no matter what our position. Keep enjoying the "simple things" your life is so much fuller for it!!

theknapper said...

Hey Dave, I don't think this is a "disabled thing" that suddenly you smell the roses...I think it's part of the human condition to not see the beauty/wonder around us.....Lots of people I know who live with disabilities don't have this ability.....being mindful is a conscious act. ....and I think that's how you live your life, with your eyes wide well as your other senses.....on the flip side you also smell the manure. The balance is what gets us through.

dervish said...

Nice post, Dave. I have to agree with betsy, also as a mom of a kid with T21.

I also wanted to say, as a writer, I love your vivid descriptions of the frangrances and light, the birds and the colors... very nicely done.

lina said...

Is it disability or a time in one's life when you begin to notice what is reallly beautiful and important in life. Don't know which it is but glad it happens either way.
Beautiful post Dave.

rickismom said...

I think that "smelling the roses" has much more to do with how you were brought up, and what matters to you. It takes time to take time to smell the spices of life. Belonging in someway to the "disability" community may prompt one to reevaluate one's priorities, and lead one to take time to "smell the roses".

The person who pitied you, only wanted to ease his unease by consoling the "unfortunate", by commenting that at least you can smell the roses. GGGRRR