The Extraordinary in Simplicity

October 17, 2010 § 10 Comments

“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.” –Paulo Coelho

We’re all so busy – with work, family, friends, life. All of that plus multitasking on our iPhones/BlackBerries/computers/social media/TVs doesn’t leave us much time to appreciate the extraordinariness that, often, is inherent in the simplest things.

Last week, as you know, I was in Italy. Wandering around Tuscany without a cell phone and without consistent Internet access allowed me to disconnect from the constant stream of information and interaction in which many of us engage. Disconnecting in one way allowed me to connect with – and value – the world around me in other ways.

I took in the natural elegance of rolling vineyards and silvery-green olive trees as I went on long walks…

Grape leaves transforming from verdant green to scarlet

Olives blushing purple as they ripen

I reveled in seeing the short path between fruit on a tree and food on my plate…

Discovering a chestnut tree on a gravel road

Finding chestnuts glistening on the dewy earth

Enjoying roasted chestnuts hours later

I delighted in tasting local ingredients composed into meals…

Simple Italian breakfast of prosciutto, cheese, bread, tomatoes and chocolate torte

When was the last time that you were able to connect with something simple yet extraordinary? Could you make some time to do that this week?



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§ 10 Responses to The Extraordinary in Simplicity

  • Lael Hazan says:

    Gorgeous photos and great post! Thank you for reminding us to stop and take in all of the beauty that surrounds us! Now… If I could figure out how to use my camera as well!

  • Amy says:

    You really take amazing photos Stephanie! When I get my new camera you will have to teach me your tricks!

    • Amy, Thank you! Learning and practicing photography has been so fun. I would be happy to teach you tricks anytime! One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far: Shoot, shoot, shoot (and shoot some more). The more you take photos, the more you’ll learn what lighting is best, how to compose a picture and what settings yield a beautiful image.

  • Tom Armitage says:

    William Wordsworth’s admonition for “plain living and high thinking” has always rung true for me. In my experience, the ability to enjoy the simple things is mostly about focus and attention. The contemporary lifestyle is so fragmented and distracted that it’s easy to miss the song of a bird, the flavor of the food we eat, or the sound of leaves rustling in the wind. Even my cooking, which went through a “show-off” phase with elaborate sauces and presentations, now focuses on finding the tastiest local ingredients, trying to bring out their natural goodness, and not messing them up with the distractions of too many other flavors.

    • Tom, I love Wordsworth’s quote, and I agree with your current philosophy of cooking. If you find the best, freshest ingredients, not much else is required in the cooking phase. Thanks for sharing your perspectives. Hope you’ll stop by the blog again soon.

  • mai truong says:

    The simple things are often what make you love life, right?? Simple things I love are breathing in clean, crisp air, admiring the beauty of rolling mountains and canyons, feeling myself wake up slowly as I run down my neighborhood streets in the morning, and holding hands with my soon-to-be hubby :). Oh, and, of course, cooking! What a great post and such a beautiful leading shot. Thanks Stephanie, can’t wait to hear more about this trip!

  • Kelly says:

    Yup, it’s the simple things in life that are so special. :O) I seize every simple moment I can in this crazy technological world – my silly cat, the gorgeous AZ sunsets, freshly washed sheets, the smell of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, etc.

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