There’s a blog I read. Its author is a writer, a teacher, a mother, probably not in that order. She loves people, words, conversations. She’s enthusiastic, encouraging, and loves life. She might be exhausting to live with: she’s exhausting to follow, because she’s constantly throwing out challenges. What, she mused recently, makes you joyful? Well, Renée Schulz-Jacobson, this is what.
It’s hanging out the washing. And bringing it in at the end of the day. How sad is that?
Every day, these simple acts raise my spirits. We dry our washing out on our roof terrace. From here, we can see the nearby peaks of the Pyrenees, covered in crystal white snow for half the year.
Across the river just beyond our house, a neighbour keeps hens, and I enjoy watching them fossicking about for grubs and cabbage stalks. Sometimes the heron swoops along the river while I’m there, and lands near the weir to look for breakfast or supper. The morning air is cold, fresh and energising. Actually, at this time of year it can be ****** freezing, in which case I’ll run down and warm myself afterwards by the wood burning stove.
It’s the evening though, when the washing is dry, sweet-smelling and ready for folding and hanging (carefully done, so there’s no need for any ironing) that I’m happiest here. I’ll listen to the birds chattering and singing. I’ll check up on those hens again. But best of all, I’ll watch the sun setting.
The sky will turn from vivid blue, through rusted orange and citrus yellow, to navy blues and bruised purples. The snow on the mountains will change from sparkling white to ice-blue and then the subtlest shade of grey. Suddenly, the sun will drop from sight behind the trees, and for a few minutes longer the palette of colours becomes moodier before giving over to shadowy moleskin grey. Then the stars appear and later, the swooping, chirruping bats. I’ll be back indoors by then, my mood invariably lifted by the simple pleasure of watching as the sun puts on its daily and ever-changing show.