Enjoyment

Enjoyment is not a goal, it is a feeling that accompanies important ongoing activity.

Paul Goodman

A couple years ago, I copied that quote from somewhere. It just rang a bell inside me for some reason. At the time, there was not much enjoyment in my life; I had lost my job due to an illness that isolated me from a real life. Enjoyment was a spattering of this or that here or there, it was certainly not ongoing.

These last few months, living in the woods, though I believe I understand better what the author meant by those words. And it has affected my desire to communicate in this forum.

It is not that there is nothing to write about; this is a new community with many lovely and interesting places and activities for sure. The sheer beauty of my surroundings is fodder for contemplation and expression.

Somehow though, the activity of communicating via the written word via computer has become less important as I simply enjoy the everyday miracles of my natural surroundings. Getting the computer out and sitting inside to work on it, just does not compare to walking in the sunshine and listening to birdsong.

Electronic communication is cumbersome, awkward and time consuming. You have to be “plugged in” if not literally, at least figuratively. Connecting to the outside world requires time and effort, and the reward is a connection that is often slow and sometimes non-existent.

Forgive me, if I prefer the immediate gratification of the sun in the trees, the wind in the leaves, the babble of the stream, and bird song punctuated by the occasional “gronk” of a bull frog echoing over the pond.

I tell myself I will save computer time for later when it is dark and I cannot do anything else, but then there is the moon glowing white or crimson, bright or hazy, and the stars, and perhaps a campfire flickering and glowing. By the time I come inside I am satiated with all the sights and sounds, and enjoyments of a full day.

I am tired, not the tired of hard work or a stressful day but that feeling of fulfillment of having spent a day well. Outdoors tired from fresh air and exercise which leads to a good night’s sleep. I have no patience for firing up the computer, connecting it to the phone, and adding an artificial glow to the end of my day.

Tomorrow, I say. And then tomorrow comes and I wake up to the sun shining through the trees, the birds singing, and the babble of the stream and rustle of the wind in the trees, and, well you know — enjoyment.Blue Bear paddling at Mirror LakeI have important ongoing activity to partake of here.

Maybe I will tell you about it one day — when it rains.

 

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A Natural Rhythm

When you meander, you are not forced into an artificial schedule (work, school, meetings, appointments, sports practice, dance lessons, etc.) Life takes on a rhythm that is attune with you and your surroundings.

I find I naturally awaken to greet the sunrise, then I get some natural exercise, walking a beach or forest trail. Later in the day I will tend to work or projects, then I might head into town for a little culture or a citified lunch. I always try to end my day in natural surroundings, so I can do it all over again tomorrow.

I find this lifestyle to be very beneficial — I walk a lot and fill my soul with the beauty of the world around me. I stress less and thus eat less (a cooler of provisions lasts and lasts.) I thoroughly enjoy my days and fall into bed tired but content.

Who could ask for more right?

Well it turns out that living in the woods offers many of the same advantages. I wake naturally, no alarm clocks to disturb the sound of rustling leaves and bird song outside my window. My eyes open to a forest of green leaves and never ending sky. The stream babbles, sometimes tinkling a happy song, others a rain swollen rush. An early morning walk fills me with wonder. Stretching on the bridge over the stream eases any tension. A paddle plies and smooths tight muscles.

As the sun goes down, a campfire can take away the chill and mesmerizes– slowing, calming, readying the body and mind for deep, restful sleep.

Life is good.
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