I snapped this photo this summer.
We had missed our bus-- twice now, and the buses only come once every hour or two. Camping supplies packed up. No way to walk back. So all there really was to do was eat and sit near our heavy backpacks, by the sunny shore, for several hours until it was time to try to wait for the bus again.
I watched families go back and forth from the campground.
One family hopped in a boat and rode to a house on the shore. A woman watching this explained that that house wasn't accessible by roads, and had been in their family for a long time. Some people seemed to live there, others came to rest and relax.
Two women watched as kids played in the water, for hours. They had just met, yet chatted happily about life. The kids chased ducks, danced in the water, laughed and played with each other.
And all I did was sit there and watch all this for hours with my friend. I had been consumed in this world of needing direction. Needing to find meaning, purpose, mission in life. Even in hobbies, even in pure enjoyment. Heck, this blog is full of writing trying to tease out some kind of meaning and great purpose people could nod and clap at. I couldn't stand feeling aimless.
Early this year I asked people on Twitter what they recommended for reading for someone who felt lost in life, and someone suggested Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time. I remember distinctly sitting on the steps of a park, the sun slightly setting, my phone left at home, reading through the pages. It was the first book I read in a long while.
And what struck me was the focus on finding beauty in simple things. There was no overarching purpose or big impressive accomplishment. There were pages upon pages just talking about how beautiful it is to dunk a cookie in a cup of tea.
Or to watch kids play near the shore.
I think of this often.