I've been battling a bit of a cold for the past few days and the sleepless night I had the night before last hasn't helped matters, I'm sure. I went to bed early and slept right through until 7 am (that's called 'sleeping in' for us). I woke up with a stuffy nose and a sore throat – nothing serious, just a real lack of energy. Nonetheless, I decided to get a few things done this morning, without overdoing it. I decided to clean the greenhouse gutters and outside panel walls.... but another cleaning post is most likely the last thing anyone wants to read about. I'm not all that keen about writing about it either. Although the day-to-day mundane chores are necessary and have to get done, it's the little things I notice along the way that bring me bits of happiness and make the chores more enjoyable.
For example, there's a golden berry bush growing in the flower garden beside the pathway on the way to the greenhouse and it is producing a lot of fruit right now. These little orange balls of wonderfulness (can you tell they're my favourite) grow in a parchment-like lantern. As I passed by this morning (like I do every morning), I stopped and checked to see if there were any dried up lanterns ready to pick. And there were a few. So I picked two... okay maybe it was three. I left some for Kevin, as I know he likes to do the same. I don't know if it's the fact I only eat a couple at a time that makes the experience worth savouring, but every bite is like heaven. No gorging. No greediness. No whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Just a handful of pure, off-the-branch goodness. After this tasty distraction, I moved right along. I got my ladder out and levelled it on the uneven ground, then filled up my bucket full of water. I paused once again to check out the strawberry plants two feet away from me. They grow all year round, but we don't have enough plants to provide us with a huge harvest... barely enough at one time to make a tart. So, we just pick them as we see them. Sometimes, finding that one, perfect, ripe strawberry feels like finding a precious jewel. And once you find it, you best indulge before the birds or insects help themselves because you can be sure they will never ask permission (they've very rude like that). Enjoy it while you can, is our motto!
While Kevin was working in the front of the house with loud, energetic music to keep him company, I worked in silence.... well, nature is hardly silent. There are sounds... a very different kind of music: the rushing water coming through the aqueduct system into the ponds, the river's constant current, the leaves rustling in the breeze, the many different birds singing their individual songs (and if you've ever heard the Emerald Toucanet, you'll know they give out a loud squawk that is anything but serene). Sometimes I catch myself singing a little ditty to myself, but mostly I seem to meditate. My meditation sessions rarely (meaning never) look like the cross-legged version of Yogis chanting OM. I'm not that proficient or disciplined. But I do enjoy quiet contemplation while getting practical things done. It's a good combination for me (kill two birds with one stone, so to speak... not that I'm into killing birds.. I'm just using a common expression to illustrate my point). While I was in the garden, giving the gutters some elbow grease, I got a whiff of some of our Sweat Pea flowers. They are so fragrant, the scent always takes my breath away. If you asked me to describe its perfume, I wouldn't be able to do it. My brain forgets it instantly. It's like I'm discovering the scent for the first time each and ever time and yet it's also like one of those childhood memories that awakens within you and brings you comfort the minute to remember it again.
So yes. after nearly nine months of being away from our hectic North American life, I think I might be experiencing the effects of 'slowing down'. We are busy every day, but stopping to smell the flowers (literally), is good, sound advice. Taking the time to rediscover our senses is a healthy practice: physically, mentally and spiritually. It's in the little things....