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."
"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.