All about us

This hibiscus was one of many lovely plants on Mama and Daddy's back porch, September 2014.

One of many lovely plants on Mama and Daddy’s back porch, September 2014.

“It seems to me that people are forever traveling great distances, and journeying to strange countries, to see things that, if they only knew it, exist beside their own doorstep…Whether one goes to nature for truth, or for beauty, for knowledge or for relaxation, these things can be found in a yard in the city as well as in a tropical jungle, for they exist in the common, simple, everyday things all about us, as well as in the rare and exotic.” Leonard Dubkin

It’s easy to assume that older people enjoy nature because they have nothing more urgent to do, and perhaps that is true to some extent.  Having known my parents for nearly 60 years, though, I can’t remember a time when they were too busy to appreciate the commonplace joys of life.  Hearing Mama regularly exclaim over the beauty of various plants that grew in our yard and neighborhood taught me the names of many of them.  Watching Daddy work faithfully for years at a career he obviously and genuinely loved gave me a powerful example that it’s possible to maintain deep appreciation of what could easily become too familiar to see clearly.

I count myself fortunate to have grown up hearing frequent praises for extraordinary, ordinary things.  Whether it was the taste of food fresh from a garden, the sound of a particularly spirited or touching piece of music on an oft-played record album, or the joyful antics of birds, squirrels and other wildlife, I learned early to pay attention to the abundance that surrounds us.  It’s a lesson that has paid rich dividends.

What are the ordinary gifts in your everyday world, that would be worth traveling great distances to experience?  If you and I could swap places for just one day, what would you want me to be sure not to miss?  Since we can’t swap places, you can tell me about it here and I can enjoy it through your words…and you can appreciate it anew by revisiting the joy or excitement or contentment you feel just by thinking of it.

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Great beauty is in the ordinary.

    • So true! And something that becomes more and more obvious, as time passes and much that we once took for granted becomes only a memory.

  2. Good morning, Julia!
    The Van Gogh exhibit is in Minneapolis now, through January. December ticket availability is still good, and I have time off from work the last week of December so if you’d like to come to Minnesota in December, this is an opportunity!
    While here, we could also visit The Marsh, which is the health club where I have membership. While that aspect may seem less appealing to you, The Marsh has been one of my favorite aspects of living just west of Minneapolis, and I would miss it if I moved away.
    I’m afraid outdoor activities in December may not be a big draw for Southern You. 😁

    • Susan, thanks so much for the invitation! But yes, I will take a rain check at the present time. 😉

  3. Judy

    The early morning dawn is casting a dim light through my living room window. I hear a familiar clip-clop of an Amish horse and buggy coming down the street. It’s one of the men who live in the Amish houses near me and he’s going to work at a barn workshop about 3 miles away. I like the sound of the horse’s feet on the pavement. It reminds me that there’s another way of living that isn’t connected to being constantly aware of the happenings in the world of news and social media.

    Yesterday, on a brisk Sunday afternoon, we took a long drive through the rural area of central Pennsylvania where we live. The gently rolling hills still showed some trees with bright orange or yellow leaves, and the fields were either neatly cut stubbles of corn or were carpeted with rich green grass. We were surprised to see so much green this time of year. The countryside looked like lovely patchwork quilt. Orange pumpkins decorated many of the farmhouse porches. In the pastures, cows were quietly absorbing the sunshine and white goats looked up to watch us go by. Overhead, v-shaped flocks of geese were making their way to new places. We passed an Amish buggy; little boys in straw hats peered out the buggy’s back window and waved at us. I smiled and waved back at them.

    There’s contentment to be found here in the everyday simple things.

    • Judy, thank you so much for this wonderful description of your very lovely home county. I have such fond memories of the places you took us and the people we met– and yes, the clip-clop of the horses is a gentle, soothing sound. Especially compared to the jarring noises of horns honking and cars that badly need muffler work! They are doing a lot of construction on the river front near my home, and while I will welcome the train station and riverwalk and green spaces and businesses (whenever they finally open up), for now I get so annoyed on my daily walks, with the big construction vehicles that roar by so loudly that I have to rewind my audiobook multiple times in a single short walk, just to avoid missing a bit of plot or dialogue. Hmmm, wonder if that’s why I’m not walking as regularly lately? Anyway, back to your wonderful writing – it was like a quick mini-vacation to a place I love to visit! Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful scenes with all of us!

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