I’ve reached the stage in life where I have time to stand and stare.  I stopped yesterday to gaze for ages at a tree heavy with white blossom.  I moved closer to scrutinise individual petals amongst the millions and watch ants scurrying along the branches oblivious, I assume, that they were being observed. A woman passed by and I felt an explanation was due (odd that, why?). She clearly thought I was a weirdo (thank goodness she didn’t catch me talking to the tree).  Grown men don’t often stand gazing at a tree unless, I suppose, they are working out how to cut it down or on one of those training courses advocating getting in touch with the here and now.

There are places in my garden where, despite so many chores that need doing, I stop to look and listen.  There is a cheeky robin that comes close, but stays just out of range.  And on my morning walk across fields near here, I often pause to listen to skylarks and to see if I can spot them fluttering high above.

Simple pleasures.

I have to admit to another one; visiting the local rubbish dump. For some reason, I find the whole experience very fulfilling. I love loading up the old Volvo estate with rubbish – yesterday it was two doors that I have been meaning to clear out for ages – driving to the dump with a neurotic warning light telling me the boot isn’t quite closed (the doors were a couple of inches too long).  Then there is the business of deciding which of the many skips is the appropriate one for whatever I have on board. Wood in one, metal in another, bricks and rubble in another.  Special places for electrical goods, for old batteries and gas cylinders. It wasn’t always so organised.  I can remember when you simply threw things indiscriminately onto a big heap that was occasionally scooped up by a bulldozer. Throwing is an important part of the pleasure. Merely placing things down in their allotted spaces won’t do; chucking is so much more satisfying rewarded, preferably, with a crashing sound or, better still, the sound of breaking glass.  Wonderful.

Then, the triumphant return home with an empty car. A job well done. The feelings of intense satisfaction last for the rest of the day.  Please don’t spoil it by telling me about problems with land fill.  I know I should think beyond the dump but, sorry, I’m going to stay an ostrich.

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