Contemplation + Solitide + Gratitude for the Little Things

My chores are completed. Outside is where I have chosen to sit on this beautiful Monday afternoon. Today, Columbus Day is one of those “free” days off from work. I don’t wish to engage in a debate about Columbus or why we honor him still. So, please…

I cherish the weather I am enjoying this day. Solid blue skies, a gentle breath undulating the changing leaves and temperatures in the seventies. In the middle of October when I know the much colder weather is right around the corner forcing me to retreat inside. To a more comfortable climate.

I’m enjoying a cigar, a dram of scotch. If you must know it is 15-year-old Balvenie Double Cask. It is smooth and delicious. I was reading a book written by Matthieu Ricard who has been called the “happiest man in the world.” I know what makes me happy and it is the simple pleasures of life, the pleasures that I am enjoying now. I have a great deal of gratitude for the simplicity that is my life. I have a wife of 31-years whom I deeply love and who every day I have to spend with her makes me lucky and grateful for her presence. I have made choices that in hindsight I would not have made, this is not one of them.

As I was reading Matthieu’s book, my mind began as it often does to other things. My wife, when I sit outside often will find me with my Kindle closed staring off into space contemplating something. In a few short hours, darkness will arrive. Shadows are already lengthening and reminding me of the abbreviated daylight. As the light begins to fade I find myself thinking of life in general and of my father. As he started his 80th year in March and freshly discharged from a hospital bed, I think about how brief our lives really are. I think about the gratitude which I have and the work I have done in my life to ensure I enjoy my life.

My dad’s health as he manages the symptoms of Post-Polio Syndrome continue to cause a struggle. A recent visit to his doctor found cancer below his chin. The doctor said it is not a melanoma but cancer. I am unsure of the difference but hope to hear of the treatment planned within the next week. The doctor also suggested an appointment with a neurologist as his memory is beginning to fail. The light in his eyes remains strong and is difficult to see his memory fading. I can see the frustration in his eyes when something requires being repeated. More will be known after his neurology appointment.


I have learned a lot from my father, more than he will ever know. For that knowledge I am grateful. He has taught me the importance of living my life and enjoying the simple things. I recall sitting outside with him when I was just a boy of 10. I recall him looking up at the sky as it darkened with approaching night and stating, “I wonder what the poor folk are doing?” It took me years to figure out what he meant by this statement. Thankfully not too many years have transpired since my education and understanding of his meaning. It is the little things which I have learned to bring me the most happiness.

Some of the things which I enjoy today are our new puppy, a good run, the ability to still run, the ability to and willingness to write and share my thought with you, the ability to do the work which I really love, seeing my children enjoy success, our grandson, the sunrise and sunset, time spent alone, my Kindle which carries the promise of a good story, a cigar, a dram of scotch or whiskey, time spent with my wife.


The temperatures are beginning to fall as darkness approaches so it is time for me to retire inside. I hope with all of the sincerity in the world that you allow yourself to figure out what brings peace and happiness in your life. Identify those things, bask in them and enjoy your life.

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