Simple things—a cooling breeze, sunlight on flowers, interesting shapes of everyday objects—can lift a person’s mood. Aki keeps it simple in her life. She examines every faint smell. The little dog follows the straightforward social rules of her kind, showing submission at the first meeting with a larger dog and then joy when submission is not required. Often my tendency toward complexity leads me to ignore the plain things.
This morning I am standing at a trail junction waiting for Aki to catch up. Mosquitoes are storming around. I want to move before the one buzzing my right ear sinks its drill-bit like proboscis into the tender flesh at my temple. When the little dog breaks into a run in my direction I make my escape. We continue on to Gastineau Meadows in a cloud of bugs. A ten-knot breeze reaches the meadow the same time as us, carrying away the mosquitoes. In the unexpected quiet that follows, I slowly focus on how the wind ripples through the meadow grass. I notice, too, the early morning sunlight elevating the beauty of simple objects like dead trees limbs and live pinecones.