Saturday, June 10, 2006

Savoring life's small pleasures

In case Washington residents haven’t noticed, amidst political turbulence and scandal, this has been the most beautiful springtime I can remember. When I arise each morning at six or so, I listen to WAMU’s weather report. This time of year, I am checking to see whether ‘Kurta weather’ has arrived. (A Kurta is a light cotton overgarment often worn by Indian and Sri Lankan men – and by me in the summer months.) My Kurta collection is ironed and ready – these marvelously functional garments seem designed for easy ironing – but only a single day has seemed appropriate for breaking one out.

When I lived in North Arlington, Virginia, I used to get regular exercise commuting by bicycle to and AU’s Northwest Washington location. The convenience of Anderson Hall has ruled that out, but I try to do at least one circumnavigation of the entire campus each morning. This is also an opportunity to greet friends, touch base with an early arriving staff or faculty member with a problem; possibly spot something that needs fixing. And I try to take in the quiet beauty of it all. Those of us fortunate enough to have spent their lives working on a university campus may fail to appreciate the dreariness, by contrast of most other work places. An early morning – or late evening – walk or ride about the grounds is a good reminder.

‘The Dean’ is back from an extensive travel schedule and we played tennis for only the second time in several weeks. Our setting, described in previous blogs, is a beautiful hollow, surrounded by three shrouded hills. In the summer, we begin between 6 and 6:30 and yesterday, it was about as perfect a day for tennis as one could imagine. And surprisingly, my game seemed rejuvenated from a long slump. I won two fiercely contested sets: 6-4; 8-6! On days when I play especially well, I like to imagine that I have ascended to a plateau, rather than only temporarily perching on a peak, with valleys as well as additional peaks awaiting me. On my best tennis days, it might be a good idea, when I return home, to review one of The Buddha’s discourses on impermanence.

But I have decided, sitting here in my silo study, surrounded by fields and fenced paddocks, with my wife’s horses grazing in sight, that this is a day not to think of such things. This will be a day to live in the moment. I intend to savor life’s small pleasures and be thankful for them.


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