Pleasures found in the small things

I awoke early the other morning, about 5:30. Rolling over in bed I was able to look out the large picture window in our bedroom and watch the sunrise. The colors were beautiful. The oranges and blues and reds were doubled by their reflection in the mirror smooth waters of the bayou. I resisted the urge to close my eyes and go back to sleep. Instead I just lay there watching the colors increase and decrease in intensity. I wondered if anyone else was watching this spectacular display? No matter. I was enjoying it. If no one else was, well, that was their loss.

A couple geese are silhouetted against the reflected sunrise. They’re standing as still as statues on a small raft floating in the bayou. I put that raft there especially for them. I doubt they appreciate my efforts but you never know. They seem to have learned that in another hour or two this sleepy sluggard will finally toss off his blankets, appear on the porch and scatter some corn in the shallows for them. I think that’s what they’re waiting for.

This world is truly a beautiful place, especially for those of us who live “up north.” Our world is completely reborn every year with the coming of spring.

Later, on the way to a restaurant for a late breakfast, I see the serviceberry bushes along the lane showing their white blossoms. The nearby lilacs are decked out in a delicate pink. The lilacs are still in their early stages, a darker pink, but will shortly burst forth aromatically in their lighter colors. I make a mental note to remember to steal a blossom or two and put them in my car to freshen the scent.

An ancient looking apple trees is covered in delicate white blossoms promising delicious apples later in the year. Even the much-maligned dandelions, sprouting profusely to the frustration of many homeowners attempting to grow the “perfect” lawn, are a welcome sign of spring for many of the rest of us.

Then I come upon the multi-lane highway. It’s gradually filling with the traffic of commuters on their way to work. Some may be running a little late, actually late or maybe just late in their own mind. Increased traffic flow can do that. They may just be frustrated by some of the more casual commuters. Those frustrated few will be darting and dodging in and out of traffic to the consternation of the rest of us.

The sun is higher in the morning sky by this time. Lake Superior, its surface slightly ruffled by an early morning breeze, sparkles in the sunshine like hundreds of acres diamonds. I wonder who else may be noticing this besides me? Traffic grows heavier now with more and more automobiles beginning to dive and dodge in and out of traffic.

It would seem that each driver is in a bigger hurry than the next, each one trying to gain that microsecond’s worth of time, which, in the end, will make no difference at all. Some few drive with one hand, cell phone in the other. Some show their frustration with “that SOB” who’s driving so slow in the inside “fast” lane.

In the meantime the lilacs quietly blossom. The sun sparkles on the water and the apple trees make their silent promise of fruit to come. It’s all to no avail. We’re all in too much of a hurry.

You might take a drive by Park Cemetery. The trees and the flowers are blossoming there too. There’ll be one or two, probably older folks, who are quietly walking the byways of the cemetery. They may – or may not – notice the blossoms and the flowers. There are many permanent residents of Park Cemetery however who no longer notice the flowers at all.

Do you think they’re still rushing, still in a hurry to get, where?

Editors note: Ben Mukkala is an award-winning northern Michigan author whose several books on life and living are available in printed and e-book form. Books are available in bookstores and gift shops or through his website,