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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Perfection is in the Details

I give fair warning that as I sit down to compose my blog, I’m feeling rather nostalgic, and my blog has very little to do with writing today. I considered several topics and thought I’d settled on blogging about audio books. I marched to my car to read the back cover of the case, because I couldn’t recall the name of the actress narrating Amanda Quick’s “Wicked Widow”. (The man at the start of each disk cracks me up. “Disc two of Weeeekid Weeedow”. Now I can’t say the title without the same inflection and a giggle. Plus, I’m beginning to think in a British accent.)

Anyway, I ended up meandering back to the house, sidetracked by the lovely flowering crabapple and redbud trees. (I’m sure it must be shocking that I became sidetracked.) Wow! When I stopped to consider the beauty around me, I was breathless with wonder. Before I knew it, I ran inside to grab my camera, which really doesn’t do nature justice, but I'll show you my pictures anyway.

Suddenly, I noticed the world: the sweet scent of lilac, the brilliant green grass, the brush of orange on the tips of the red tulip petals, the knock of a woodpecker, the constant low roar of a lawn mower in the distance… Oh, and that $%&# braying beagle down the street.

I was flooded with memories of springs past, which naturally flowed into memories of summers past. The warmth of the sun on bare limbs. The smoky scent of a barbecue grill. Coconut oil, which no one in their right mind slathers on their body anymore. Lying in bed with a good book and reading into the wee hours.

There are so many small pleasures I forget about when caught up in the everyday craziness of busy schedules, multiple phone calls and buckets of email. Yet, the combinations of these tiny pleasures make life worth living, and it is the inclusion of these emotion-inducing details that make a good book fantastic, in my opinion.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I need to follow the advice to stop and smell the roses more often.

What small things bring joy into your life?


  1. I love the pictures. I couldn't agree more that we miss so much as we hurry through life. I think I will simply sit on my patio and enjoy the blooms in my yard when I get home from work.

  2. What a lovely post, Samantha! I love those days when I walk outside and everything just seems brighter and more beautiful than ever before. I've always been aware of trees and flowers and such, but I have to say that now that I have a daughter, I notice these things even more than before. I try to see the world through her eyes, as if I'm seeing and smelling flowers, or feeling the wind across my cheeks, all for the very first time.
    I think - and hope - that my awareness of nature and my inclination to stop and enjoy it fairly often shines through in my writing :)

  3. Beautiful pictures, beautiful post, Samantha. And I do think it has everything to do with writing. These are the senses that bring our stories to life.

    My little forgotten pleasure is the wildlife in our backyard. I love to watch the Cooper's hawks hunting, the male mallard who is so protective of his mate, and the tiny goldfinches and pine siskins whose size alone makes their existence miraculous. We have a squirrel roughly the size of a rabbit, who does acrobatic tricks as he tries to eat from the bird feeder and a ribbeting frog (our version of your blasted beagle.)
    Sometimes at the end of the day, I wonder where the time has gone, and then I think- "Oh yeah, I looked out the window."

  4. Great post, Samantha! You're right, there are so many little things out there that we so often forget to take the time to enjoy.

    One of my favorites is a long, hot shower. So often, I'm in a rush to get ready and go, so I'll hurry through it. But every now and then, I'll stand there under the heat blasting down on me and just breathe for a long time.

  5. Actually, Samantha...this blog can relate to writing. Now that you have taken the time to stop and smell the roses - so-to-speak - now you can describe these scenes in your wonderful stories! Good job, woman!


  6. I love it:)
    My daughter's smile brings me joy...

  7. Thanks, Marie. When I think of it that way, you are right.

    Sigh. A daughter's smile is one of the greatest pleasures in life. Thank you for sharing and reminding me of one more thing that brings me joy. :)

    It's it wonderful how a child can make things new in our eyes?

    I would get very little done either if I had your backyard. Ours is busy enough with all the birds. Oh, and last spring we had a family of racoons living in our tree. It is so weird because we don't live out in the country. We have a couple of cardinals that live in our yard, and I just love them. The male's red coloring is amazing, especially against the snow in winter.

    I had to stop and take a hot shower as soon as I read your comments. What a luxury!

    I know we share a love for the outdoors and gardening. I'm looking forward to getting out there this weekend.

  8. Oh Samatha, you paint such a lovely picture. I live in an apartment in the city and it's very hard here to find the kind of color and beauty you speak of. I'm really looking forward to the day I can buy a house of my own with a back yard. I've never had a green thumb before but I'd certainly like to try it out one day. Such beautiful pictures and everyone else is right, these are the things that inspire us to write.

    Many of my stories involve large families so I'd have to say the things that inspire me are the little things my children do. The moments are so brief but so sweet. I'm blessed with three boys ages 17, 13 and 2 and while they keep me busy, they make life so much sweeter.

    I think I'm going to take my lap top out on my porch to enjoy the sunshine even though my view is a parking lot lol. Thanks for the wonderful reminder!

  9. Great post, Samantha. Some things that bring me joy: my childrens' smiles, laughter, funny faces, silly sayings, holding my husband's hand, a great book, a great movie, a great cd, being outside in the sun, the sand between my toes, the blue sky over my head, and the wind on my face. Thanks for reminding me to stop and enjoy these things.

  10. Samantha, what a beautiful post, indeed to remind us all to take pleasure in the beautiful things life offers us and which we sometimes take for granted.

    Spring is one of my favorite times, and offers such abundance of things to be happy about - rebirth of green and life after the cold deadness of winter. Thank you for such a lovely reminder.

  11. What a lovely joyful post! Small things that bring joy - the cell phone rings and the picture is one of my sons.

  12. I've always loved watching my son sleep. He looks so peaceful at night and I can still see the little boy he was when he was younger at these times.

  13. Melissa,
    Do go out on your porch and enjoy the beautiful sunshine. The wonderful thing is the sun looks and feels the same no matter where you're standing.

    You have a gift for finding joy in the small things.

    Thank you for visiting today. Spring really is a rebirth.

    What a joyful thing. I imagine it means one of your sons is on the other line. :)

    I know what you mean. No matter how sassy my kids may have been that day, I can't help but fall in love with them all over again when I see them so peaceful and secure.

  14. I adore tulips and spring in general, but having spent my summers at the lake, I love the fog rising off of the water in the morning and the sound of crickets at night.

    And my son...blissful joy 98.4% of the time :)

  15. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for the little glimpse into your part of the world. As I write, someone outside is cutting grass and that poor dog on the hill is locked up again and lonely. Its nice to know we hear similar sounds even half a world apart. :o)

  16. Heather S.,
    So glad you stopped by. I spent many summer days on the lake too. I also love at the end of the day when everything calms and the water looks like a sheet of glass. Sigh.

    Heather B.,
    I believe you once heard a train all the way in Wisconsin one night thanks to Skype. :)