Monday, June 09, 2014

Delight in the Familiar

Feverfew (tancetum parthenium) self-seeds in my garden. I like its airy growth and find it a good filler for gaps. It seeds itself here and there and where I prefer it not to grow, I yank it out. It's pretty and friendly, familiar.

The other day I took Miss A to Butchart Gardens, a place she's visited many times. As we drove I talked about the adventure we were going to have.

"No, Nana," she said, "this isn't an adventure."
"Why not?"
"Well, because you have to walk to an adventure, not drive. Adventures are for the woods, not Butchart Gardens."

Interesting words from a 3.5-year-old. But I had to disagree with her and told her that Nana looks for adventure everywhere, even if she has to drive.

When I was much younger, although older than Miss A, I thought that adventure required new experiences. Revisiting a place couldn't possibly be an adventure. Where was the delight in climbing the same mountain, visiting the same museum, or re-reading a book?

Older now, perhaps I'm a little wiser. I can find delight in the familiar anticipation of flowers blooming. A wander through my garden with a cup of tea is a daily small adventure. The familiar cycle of the seasons brings so many opportunities for delight. There's always a rush of joy when the roses bloom or the tomatoes form.

I still hope to visit new places in the world - England, Greece, Scandinavia. But I also want to return to France, Spain and Germany for I have not seen or experienced nearly all that I want to there. With every visit to the relatively nearby Rocky Mountains or the Gulf Islands surrounding my home, I find new enjoyment in the familiar scenes. When Tim or I say, "remember last time..." another layer is added to the experience, enriching and deepening it. As I breathe in the scent of a sun-warmed forest, memory triggers all the forest scents I've ever breathed. A damp tangle of ferns growing high as my shoulder reminds me of the jungle trails I walked in the South American rainforest. Connections form between then and now.

Delight comes equally from the familiar of everyday life that links yesterday with today and from unfamiliar new experiences that expand my understanding. I anticipate new experiences but don't crave them as I formerly did. The Apostle Paul says, "I have learned to be content..." I can paraphrase that to "I am learning to be content..." Perhaps this delight in the familiar is akin to contentment.    



  1. We are very much alike in this, Lorrie.
    The feverfew is ordinary, and ubiquitous, but I am, nevertheless, always thrilled to see it's dancing heads at the back or front of a summer border, blooming where it will.

  2. Love how children think! Your little companion is going to miss out if she must walk to all her adventures. =D

    Do you think, as I do, that your countrymen and women love to travel more than dwellers of my country? I know so many Canadians who travel a lot and so few in the U. S. who do. I suppose that this can be researched. I wish that you would stop making me think so much.

    Now I must add that the thought of your wandering in your garden with a tea cup in hand makes me smile. Keep wandering!

    1. I was shocked by my hasty research...Germany first...U.S. second...Canada eighth. much for my theories. Obviously, they are skewed by living in the Northeast.

  3. Contentment doesn't seem to be a sudden thing, but tends to come with familiarity, knowledge and, dare I say, age!

  4. Beautifully written, Lorrie, and thought-provoking. I am so much more content with the ordinary. Maybe it's partly gratitude at our age, for what we know well and appreciate it's value. But your little one is thinking!
    And I love your feverfew, though I would have called it a daisy, my favorite flower. Your photos are beautiful.

  5. Wonderful post. Old familiar surroundings and experiences can so often be taken for granted, but in reality we can never re-experience a place or activity in exactly the same way again, so each revisit to the familiar is a new and unique experience. And I'm content with that!

  6. Children always make the most interesting observations....that make us stop and think. I consider a hike a chance to see something new and that makes it an adventure. But I like the familiar things I see each time we go, too. Enjoy your afternoon! Hugs!

  7. I too have feverfew growing "wild" in my garden. I use it in floral bouquets too.
    I like your thoughts for the day also.

  8. It is amazing what little ones think. My youngest told her mom that nighttime was the 'proper' time to pray...I can only think that is because when she stays with us, I say a bedtime prayer with her. I agree with you--some of the best adventures are ones I have to drive to:)
    PS: Scandinavia is on my list too, as well as various locations in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

  9. I can also find delight in the little and familiar things. Sure surprises and adventures have their charm, but something comforting should be found every day in the familiar.

  10. I kept nodding my head as I read through your post. I am learning to see adventures in the everyday. That's too cute about Miss A's reaction to your adventure to Butchart...

  11. Learning to be content...... a process that grows as we age and become stronger in faith. Thanks for the peaks into your garden adventures, Lorrie.

  12. I like the idea of learning to be content. That is a hard one for me, as I still new adventures.
    I do, however, also delight in repeat adventures, such as discovering the tomatoes forming
    on the vine. There is so much to delight in, that is for sure! Hope your adventure to Butchart
    Gardens was pure delight.

  13. I can definitely see that change in my own perspective. As I used to long to go, to do, now I am content with staying and being...with just a bit of "going" (but always with a purpose and well considered).
    Thank you for this thoughtful post...

  14. You are so right. I am still excited to travel and experience new things. At the same time, I am perfect content to anticipate the return of the same flowers, butterflies, and dragonflies at our farm. Although I know what they will look like, somehow, they look different every year. With age, I have become more appreciative of what is in front of me, instead of searching for things far away.

  15. I love this post! Finding adventure in the ordinary and contentment in the everyday things is a good thing...that seems to come more easily with age.

  16. It is! Contentment and finding adventure in the familiar is great gain.
    I also love how a 3 1/2 can have an opinion of what constitutes an adventure.
    So cute!

  17. Yes, an adventure is always waiting around the corner. We just need to open our eyes and take a moment to see and discover all of life's pleasures just waiting to be discovered!! Love this post.

  18. Beautiful post! Every day is an adventure! :)
    Have a lovely one,

  19. Hi, Lori. I am new here and I have just added you to my reading list. I hope to be seeing more of you, for it looks like we have a lot in common.

  20. Love your thoughts here today, Lorrie.

    I think that adventure is all around us, whether we do something new or revisit a favorite place, etc.

    My garden holds Feverfew also. I love it - it self seeds, is pretty and cheery, and a medicinal plant. The gardens at Williamsburg and Jamestown all have it.


  21. Familiar things often get taken for granted, don't they? I allow a bit of feverfew to reside in the back of the moon garden.

  22. When did you ever hesitate to reread a favorite book? I don't believe it.

    Adventure. The familiar. Contentment. You draw some interesting connections here that I'll have to think about a bit.

  23. You've said many beautiful things in this short post :) Almost every line made me smile especially the conversation with your granddaughter and the garden walk with tea in hand. I too. like to travel a lot. If I were to list, I would like to visit Kashmir which is in our own country and then will be Canada :). The flower picture is very beautiful!

  24. Anonymous11:08 AM

    Lovely photos from your visit. I know you treasure these times with Miss A.

  25. Beautiful flowers...and your thoughts so well expressed. Contentment....a good place to live.

  26. Soooo cute! Aren't these grandchildren Soooo smart!!!! She sounds adorable! Yes, learning to be content.....

  27. Anonymous10:43 PM

    I don't think of myself as someone who likes adventure. I do like visiting the same old places again and again, to see what is happening there on this particular day and what changes have taken place. It's like the joy and comfort of being with friends who are never quite the same. I envy you being able to have that experience at Butchart Gardens -- but my own back yard is hard to keep up with!
    Thank you for a stimulating post.

  28. What a sweet conversation with Miss A! ...I, too, am learning to be content, but it's a process, isn't it?

    I saw your "stand and cry" comment at Debbie's. I'm right there with you! About some things, we should never become content... Honestly, I think God is helping me find contentment in my personal life so I'll have fewer distractions as He leads me out of my comfort zone to love people in places of pain, crisis, and loneliness. Every time I'm with my grandsons, I remember how blessed our family is – and how with blessing comes responsibility to share.

  29. Lorrie,

    Your posts always make me stop and think while I am reading each sentence, even in mid-sentence! So many interesting observations today about the familiar and the new, and the effect of each on us, as we grow older, wiser, and more appreciative for what we have experienced. Case in point: this year, while visiting my beloved Canada, as I do every year, it had different meaning for me, since my daughter now works and resides in the birth country of her mother. Upon arriving back to the island, and my adopted homeland, I was greeted with the beauty of Mediterranean blooms, lush vineyards at my door, that promise refreshment, and the most brilliant, soothing light, you can imagine - all familiar, all an adventure, each and every time.

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts and images.

  30. What a wonderfully thoughtful post, Lorrie! I totally understand the feelings you were expressing...we delight at the first sign of a green tomato & gladly welcome the return of all our spring flowers.
    How nice that your sweet Ms. A. gets to go along on your "adventure"...even if you did have to DRIVE there! LOL Kids come up with the craziest ideas, don't they?

    Wishing you warm sunny days & lots more pretty flowers yet to bloom.

  31. Fabulous post and most insightful.


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