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It’s strange how we build such complicated lives even though the most enjoyable things in life are quite simple.
We have houses too spacious to keep clean and appliances that mimic those in the kitchens of gourmet restaurants. But a crisp set of Downy-scented bed sheets or a window open to spring’s breeze brings an indulgent, satisfied smile just as quickly.
We have four-page cable bills because we need high-definition television and premium channels and DVRs. Yet, I think I’d be content watching “When a Man Loves a Woman” every day for the rest of my life.
And then there are the kids. Several times now, I’ve suggested to my husband some lavish item for our sons. A swing set with a rock wall leading up to a twisty slide. A patio large enough for bike riding. Even switching bedrooms so the boys have more floor space for activities. Yes, I did say “activities.”
“You know what we had when I was a kid?” he’ll respond. “A dirt pile.”
It’s practically Berkshire legend. He and his brother apparently lived for a couple years on a mound of dirt, piled against a hillside for extra tumbling fun. Tiny Tarzans launched themselves from that hill in every way any unsupervised boy has ever dreamed.
But, really, he’s right. Just like those old movies, good fabric softener and the cardboard boxes toddlers prefer to the toys inside, sometimes the simple things are just better.
Just this past weekend, I was reminded of simple things. Finally, I was going to do something about the obese perennials in my yard. My sons, ages 3 and 5, were coming along.
Digging up plants and digging new holes was fun, but not nearly as delightful as spotting the worms pulsing in the unfolding clods of dirt. These weren’t just any worms, you see. These worms had the great honor of becoming a meal for Cuddles, the box turtle that lives in the backyard.
Hole by hole, 12 in all, the boys searched for turtle treats, shifting and crumbling hunk after hunk of dirt. Not counting their lunch break, this kept them busy for about four hours.
“I got one,” one would yell, holding out a filthy palm to display the doomed, wriggling thing. And then they would hustle back to Cuddles’ garden box to watch the feasting.
If that turtle had exploded, I would not have been surprised.
Digging in the dirt. That’s what boys — and girls, too — do. It doesn’t get much simpler, but simple is good.
Think about it. Fresh-cut grass, Sunday dinners, hammocks, cupcakes, broken-in jeans and — even if it sounds a little trashy — letting your heels bob in a kiddie pool. These are the really good things and it’s no complicated feat to attain any of them.
The next time I’m tempted to complicate life, I hope I’ll remember dirt piles and worms.
Sarah Berkshire can be reached at (270)505-1745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.