Athlete of the Week: Kiara WoodsTimes sports video
It is the absence of simple things that has made life so complicated. Those simple things cost nothing yet can make you feel like a million bucks.
One night during late spring, a friend, who is a legend in the Hollywood movie industry, called and we set about the business of catching up since it had been a couple of months since we had talked. He was tucked away on his getaway place near a rushing river in the mountains and I was in a similar simple place, though I was clear across the country from him.
Far removed from our normally hectic, demanding lives, we took an evening to refresh, recharge and recall a simpler time.
For three hours, we talked. No television, no Internet, no constant stream of e-mails, no cell phones and no call waiting to catch another call. It was simply just two longtime friends recalling 20 years of memories and mutual friendships. A huge full moon hung in the sky that night, lighting the trees like a spotlight. I sat down in a rocking chair on the back porch and put my feet up against a column while Dixie Dew settled down happily and enjoyed the outdoor sounds. As we talked, I smiled while I watched fireflies flitter around as the fragrant scent of honeysuckle hung heavily, sweetly, in the air.
The next day, I mentioned to my friend Stevie about the evening and how I sat on the porch amid the moonlight and fireflies and just talked.
She sighed, almost sadly, and said wistfully, "That is so lovely. Why don't we all take time to do that? Just sit outside with friends and take the time to enjoy the simple things?"
Good question. The simple answer is this: In this technology-driven, fast-paced life, we have allowed life to drive us rather than us driving life. And while that is sad for us as adults, it is heartbreaking for the youngsters who know nothing about catching fireflies and putting them in jars or how to carry on a conversation that is spoken rather than typed.
Unless we set an example and get back to the simpler things in life by making time, future generations will pay a heavy price for our negligence for they will never know the peace of mind that simple things can give.
As fate would have it, a couple of days later I was visited for the day by Tripp, who was nearing his third birthday. When the young children in the family come, I worry about their entertainment since they have tree houses, pools, scooters, video games and every toy possible. But Tripp and his cousin, Zoe, always show me that they don't need those things. They're happy to race down the carpeted stairs on their bellies or take turns jumping off the back porch or pulling a stool up to climb into the porch swing. Simple things. And it makes them happy.
Tripp was lunching on the back porch when a baby bird, ready to leave its nest, flittered down to the porch and lighted.
"Look," I said, "This baby is waiting on its mama to come and get it to show it how to fly away from the nest."
Awed, Tripp, said, "I pet it."
"No, don't touch it or the mama bird won't come back." I pulled him into my lap and for 15 minutes, we sat close to the baby and talked about the nearby nest. He didn't move a muscle. He was intrigued.
The mama bird and its other fledgling flew into a nearby tree. "There she is. She's waiting to get her baby."
A few minutes later, she flew by, signaled for her baby and off she went with mama and sibling.
Tripp threw back his head and laughed deeply, appreciatively.
It was that simple. And that perfect.Ronda Rich is the Gainesville-based author of the new book, "What Southern Women Know About Faith." Sign up for her newsletter.