Gryphon and I went wandering the world on Saturday. Normally, now, with a start like that, you would be expecting an immensely interesting story about amazing discoveries, fascinating locales, and treasures found. After all, I just wrote the intro line to a tale of adventure, didn’t I?
But the fact is that what Gryphon and I did on Saturday wouldn’t count in most people’s books as adventure. We went to the store to pick up some prescriptions. On the way, we visited a couple of fabric stores so I could get supplies for some patchwork I’m working on. We stopped for hot dogs on the way home, then stopped at a farm stand at the west end of Milford to check out the produce.
The farm stand turned out to be next to a dairy farm with a wide-open cow barn that was roasting in the sun. The stench of fresh cow manure and urine was overwhelming. I don’t know how this farm stand survives here, I certainly had no appetite for buying anything I wanted to eat under these conditions.
At the corner of the road where the farm stand was, we spotted a sign that said QUILT SHOP with an arrow pointing up the hill. On a whim, we followed it. And followed it. Over hill and dale, round curves and twists, all the way into Lyndeborough. No sign of a quilt shop. Asked at the Village Shop, and learned that we should have turned for the quilt shop way, way back near the beginning of this route. In fact, we should have turned back at the road that would have taken us straight home.
So we went back, and found the shop. Saw a Mourning Cloak Butterfly just before we went inside – my first confirmed sighting of that species. Shopped a bit, chatted with the shop owner, and went our way to the grocery store.
Hung out at home a bit after that. Then decided we wanted to go back to the hot dog stand for ice cream. The flavor of the month for July is S’mores, and I wanted to see how they did that. Plus, we hadn’t gone out for ice cream at an ice cream stand this way in at least a couple of years.
It was delicious. We sat in the car because of the mosquitoes, and off to the north, beyond the trees, beyond the river, somewhere up Mont Vernon way or so, we could just see the tops of fireworks. When Bill finished his cone, he started the car up and we drove around North River Rd. to see if we could spot where they were and get a better look. We never did find them, but we wound up driving around the same place we’d gone for the quilt shop earlier.
Back home again, then, and that was our day. We both agreed that we’d really had a pleasant time.
So, no grand adventures. No major treasures. No earth-shattering new discoveries. We merely bummed around at our leisure and whims, with no deadlines, no expectations, and no requirements of the day. And we had a really, really good time.
You may not think what we did constitutes an adventure. I think it’s all a matter of attitude. Even simple things on Saturday brought us pleasure. Even less than satisfying things – like the stench of fresh cow manure – didn’t put a damper on the day. I think that’s because everything we did felt like something we “got to” do, and not like something we “had to” do. Fill a day with enough “got to’s” and it doesn’t have to be very adventurous to start feeling as satisfying as an adventure.
Remember when you were a kid, and you did something really fun? If someone said “What did you do today?”, you may well have said “I got to… <fill in fun activity here>!” “I got to ride my bike.” “I got to go to the store with Grandma and I got to push the cart all by myself.” “I got to have a popsicle from the ice cream truck.”
Days that weren’t so good were usually “Had to’s”. “We had to go to the dentist today, and I had to get a filling.” “I had to stay home and help fold laundry.” “I had to clean my room instead of going out to play.”
I suspect the world would be a happier place if, at the end of each day, we all looked back and identified at least one thing as something we “got to” do. “I got to read the newspaper all the way through without interruption.” “I got to see a pair of bluejays flying around the parking lot.” “I got to hear a child laughing at the park.”
Give it a try. I’ll bet you can find at least one “got to” every day. And if that “got to” helps you end the day with a smile instead of a frown, then this blog post becomes for me “I got to help someone have a better day” instead of “I had to get these words written down to get them out of my head.”
Thank you for that!