The Book of Delights

I recently finished reading The Book of Delights by Ross Gay. He spent a year writing a daily essay about something that day that brought him delight. It sounds more inspirational and treacly than it actually is. His delights are often things that most of us would not necessarily think of as delights, and he often spun off into other thoughts from his original delight. This book was the 2021 One Maryland, One Book selection. One of my book clubs usually reads whatever that is every year, but we skipped this one because it was essays, and that didn’t seem great for a book club discussion. I still agree with that assessment, but I’m glad I watched a virtual event Ross Gay did where I work because it made me want to read the book and I’m so very glad I did. It earned a rare 5 stars from me on Goodreads.

All that is a set-up to say that reading the book reminded me a little bit of the original intent of this blog that I have very much gotten away from. Even though the book was not designed to be an inspiration, it has encouraged me to start looking for more little delights as I go about my day. I’m not saying I’m going to write an essay every day, and whatever I write is certainly not going to be as eloquent or profound as what Ross Gay was writing, but I want to try and commit to writing at least one post per week that shares some of the delights I’ve seen throughout the week.

Here’s a few things from the past week:

  • Last weekend we were in Lewes, Deleware. Every few hundred yards along the beach by where we were staying is a public beach access path. It seems like the people who live there just leave their beach gear at the end of whatever path that they use. There were all kinds of things like kayaks and beach chairs that people had just left out there. It felt like a nice bit of trust in the goodness of people that they could leave their stuff out there and no one take it. There feels like so little of that in the world in these days. It was a nice reminder that there can be something better.
  • Little kids jumping in mud puddles. My friend and I went hiking this weekend and the trail was pretty muddy in parts. We were trying our hardest to stay out of it the whole time, but right as we were getting ready to exit the trail we came across a family with some little kids just jumping around in the mud like it was the best thing ever. I didn’t go start jumping in the mud, but perhaps a little nudge to every once in awhile forget about the aftermath (when it’s not causing anyone harm of course) and just enjoy the moment. Those kids certainly weren’t thinking about the mess their parents were going to have to clean up or how they were probably ruining their shoes. They were just living in the moment enjoying the feeling of squishing around in the mud.
  • A tiny mailbox. I walked by a house with a tiny mailbox attached to their fence post yesterday. I don’t know why it’s there. I don’t know what it’s for. Certainly not mail, as nothing mail sized would fit in it. I hope whatever reason it’s there is for fun. Even if it’s not, it made me smile.
  • A banner for Penny’s last day of cancer treatment on 2-22-22. I don’t know who Penny is. I just happened to walk by a house that had this banner strung across the porch. What could be a greater delight than getting to celebrate someone vanquishing cancer, hopefully for good.

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