Life’s small pleasures count most

I had been out to the beach and was returning. I’ve a plastic lawn chair set up on the north end of the dock/bridge across our bayou. I have it screwed down so it doesn’t blow away. It’s a pleasant spot to just sit and watch the world rotate. The brush and the sand bank just behind it serve as a windbreak from the cooler lake breezes.

When the sun shines it’s downright warm and cozy. It’s one of my “getaway” spots. I stopped there this day. It was warm and pleasant. I stripped down to my shorts, sat down and enjoyed the warm sunshine.

A couple water bugs were chasing each other around just beside the dock. I guess, it being spring, a young water bug’s fancy, like many a young man’s, was turning to thoughts of “amour.”

There were a few minnows swimming in the shallow water also. They darted quickly from one spot to another. Practice, I guess, to avoid becoming a meal for one of the bigger fish.

I couldn’t help but feel sorry for folks who must be out on the highway, rushing around, going or coming from work, or maybe just looking for work. Down in my little corner of the bayou the livin’ comes easy. Neither water bugs nor minnows seem concerned about the action on the highway nor, I imagine, are folks on the highway concerned about them.

That’s the way of our world. Everyone is intent on earning enough to eat or maybe, like those minnows, avoid being eaten by “the big fish.”

Ah, but all around me there is peace and beauty. The sun is shining. The birds are singing. All seems well with the world. But that’s the “big picture.” Most of us are so busy concentrating on one little corner that we’re unaware of the bigger, broader, more beautiful world.

It was, is and probably will be right there for a long time to come. It’s just beyond our narrow attention. It’s a beautiful place. There are a few exceptions though; areas where we, in our drive for development, have managed to screw it up.

You don’t have to buy a ticket or stand in line. All that’s required is that you slow down, look around and be aware.

A couple of geese paddle by chattering to each other. I don’t know where they’re going. I didn’t ask and they didn’t say. They didn’t seem to be in any particular hurry. I don’t know if they noticed me sitting here or not. I like to feel that those geese and I “get along.”

I feed them every morning and it might be that they recognize me, if not as a friend at least not as an enemy. We who live here enjoy our own society in the bayou.

I noticed on the pathway to the bridge that several wild roses had taken root just beside the path. It didn’t require any effort on my part except to avoid stepping on them. The beautiful pink flowers brighten up the pathway and, subsequently, brighten my day too. Also on the path some wild strawberries are blooming.

The white blossoms brighten my walk. There are other people who also use the walkway. Not everyone is as observant as I try to be so all those strawberry blossoms may not make it to fruition. That’s probably why there are so many of them.

The sun is beginning to be felt on my bare skin. No sunscreen you see. Time to pull on my shirt and britches and head for the house. It has been a pleasant interlude to my otherwise not-very-busy day and I have tried to share it with you. It’s not an exclusive thing you know. It’s all out there. You just have to pause, look around you and be aware.

That’s a good habit to get into.

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,