There is a luxury in less.
I thought of this while indulging myself in the simple pleasure of sitting and looking up to watch the clouds glide across a warm, Eastern Sierra sky. The beauty and peacefulness almost saddened me when I think of our normal hustle, a strange addiction to business. We are all in such a hurry as a norm, and (evidently) in great haste to fill our already full schedule with a pile of other “To Dos.”
However, you can only pack so many distractions in a backpack when you hike into the wilderness. There is only so much weight you can bear on your back. So, in the high-elevation back-country, you can experience the luxury of less – and this permits you to notice more.
With less, I realize I have forgotten (or perhaps never fully appreciated) how deliciously sweet the sensation of wind on my skin is. And how the whisper of this wind through conifer branches harmonizes with the murmuring of a distant stream, and this is the perfect siren song for day dreams. Such things are the recipe for empty thoughts, and how often do we get the blessing of under-thinking?
And to make such moments too good to be real (yet it is) there are the quaking aspen (Populous tremuloides). They give a glorious show of light and shadow as the wind winds its fingers between each of its leaves. I could watch their dance forever, as if each leaf had a sound of its own, creating a symphony of movement, a concert of light and dark.
Not that modern comforts are bad, nor do I shun them, but I often wonder or at least ponder now, when I’m at a distance from them : what is being lost in having more? How many leaf-shaking symphonies do I miss? What cloud-gliding luxuries go unclaimed?