Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Simple Pleasures

I walked to the library yesterday and found two of the Inter-War books I wanted.  Most are not available, but a few more are at other libraries in this area, so I have much to look forward to.

Another book I picked up was a small one titled Simple Pleasures - Little Things that Make Life Worth Living.  Anything that Makes Live Worth Living is worthy of consideration, surely.  I thought I'd find out what the National Trust's take on this might be.

The first chapter is "A Sense of Place".  In it are essays about 

a walking path along the coast of Wales
Seaton Delaval Hall (near us)
Deep sea diving
a copse near Bath
Ramsgate Sands
British Rail

I was going to link you to all sorts from this list, but if you're curious you'll find out I'm sure.  From my brief perusal last night, the ideas around a 'sense of place' have to do with nature and solitude, a feeling of ownership or identification, a new and transforming experience, a sense of history or patriotic pride, a feeling of gratitude at being able to visit, inhabit or experience a place, a unique opportunity for observing - either nature or other people.  

I was thinking about when in my life I've enjoyed this 'sense of place'.  What came to my mind was
  • The large stone path on the West side of the house where I grew up in the Village, where I served mud pies and hose water to my best friend, Mary Lou, on my dainty china tea set.
  • My Grandmother's house on NW 31st Street in Oklahoma City, virtually every wonderful room in it, but particularly the front hall closet with the glass door.  It was my secret hiding place.
  • Her house on 7th and Shartel in the same city, perhaps mostly for her large kitchen and for the large mantled fireplace with glass fronted bookshelves on either side.  I wanted to own something that grand; I still do.
  • The first house I owned on 9th Street.  I loved it for its potential, which proves I am an accomplished fantasist.  I loved the 10 foot ceilings, the French doors between the living and dining rooms and the large front porch.
  • My Grandma & Grandpa's 1940's house in Oklahoma City, especially the closets with sliding doors and built in cupboards; also the storage space where Grandpa kept his tools, under the dining room window seat; also the kitchen with the pantry cupboard, the large drawers, the cutting board that pulled out from under the counter and the French windows that opened into the large screened in back porch with the ceiling fan from the old Huckins Hotel and Grandpa's faded green wooden rocking chair with the wide arms.  A developer tore the house down a few years ago.  I visit the house often in my sleep.
  • Driving at the coast on my way home and enjoying the sea views along the Promenade.
  • The house where we now live.  I get a warm feeling when approaching from the North, seeing the long wall, the glassed in porch and the bay windows.  The front garden looks much more elegant with the new brickwork. My favourite places in this house are the front porch and the living and dining rooms where Grandmother's furniture has finally found a suitable home.
  • When I lived in Salt Lake City, the first traffic lights of my daily commute faced East to the Wasatch Mountain front, sometimes snow covered, others snow topped, forest green or ablaze with autumn, the horizon unbroken by anything but treeline.  If I was lucky enough to hit a red light, that seemed to set me on a better path for the rest of the day.  (Sadly, some b@$+@£d playing King of the Mountain has stuck a large, ugly house above the tree line and I never want to look up there again.)
  • The first time I saw the Gulf of Mexico I sat for hours in the surf at Galveston, enthralled by the grey-green colour of the water and the lacy white waves.  I wanted to take bolts of it home and make myself an entire wardrobe.
  • I feel just the same when I ride on a train or on the London Underground as the gentleman who described his pleasure in watching other people and inventing stories about them.   Travel by train and ferry is just the best.
  • The first time I stood on Westminster Bridge overlooking the Thames River, I thought of the many novels I'd read in the first 39 years of my life that were set in London, never dreaming I'd actually see the place.  I cried.  I've visited London's tourist area sufficiently often over the years that it is feels familiar enough for me to claim it as mine, particularly the Tower and the very spot where Anne Boleyn and Jane Grey lost their heads.
 Where are the places you've experienced that live on inside and bring you pleasure?


Frugal Scholar said...

You're making me want to move to Oklahoma! I bet a lot of those old houses still stand.

Rick Stone said...

Scholar: Come on to Oklahoma, you'd love it here. Forbes magazine has named it one of the best places in the country to live.