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Tiny Revolutions №71: Simple Pleasures
Why is sloth a sin? 🦥
Maybe you noticed I wasn’t in your inbox yesterday as usual, or maybe you didn’t — it was a holiday weekend here in the states, so I took the chance to step away from the devices for a couple of days. Only I didn’t just go offline, I went off grid entirely – camping in the San Bernardino mountains, about an hour and a half from LA.
As far as camping trips go, this one was lazy. We arrived just in time to set up our tents as the sun set on Friday, and on Saturday we hiked, but nothing ambitious. The main source of entertainment, besides the scenery and our three adorable canine buddies, was each other. The crew was an assortment of people who’ve met at Sierra Club activities over the years, and I really only know them from other camping trips we’ve taken together, which, obviously, did not happen last year.
So there was a lot of catching up to do – what we’d been up to during Covid, how we were feeling coming out of it, what adventures we were looking forward to. It was interesting because the outdoors were the only common denominator for us all. A couple were knowledge workers like me, a few in the medical industry, a scientist, a physical therapist, and a set decorator — some who stayed home during the pandemic, some who’d been on the front lines, some working from home, some out of work altogether. We ran the gamut. And we were all just so damn happy to be together under the big sky, sharing stories and laughs and a variety of different kinds of chips. Simple pleasures we’ve been denied for the past year and change. It was truly healing.
I’ve been struggling to come up with things to write lately. This was me last week:
Where I’m at is that I’d like for things to be easy for a while. I worked hard during the pandemic and now that it’s in its final stages, I just want to…not do that anymore.
This is not completely out of the ordinary for me, but it’s been acute lately. So to the extent that I can, that is what I’m going to do. Slow it down for the summer as much as possible. No new projects, more unstructured time, more time spent in company with others and no real agenda.
Who wants to join me in doing the bare minimum for a while? I think we’ve earned it.
On to a few things I thought were worth sharing this week.
“While travelling through Japan and working on organic farms, the UK filmmaker Steve Atkins found himself entranced by the movement of light and shadows formed by the interplay of trees, wind and sunlight on the landscape. The Japanese have a unique word for this occurrence: komorebi.”
Here is a pretty sweet way to spend a few minutes (and a great lazy summer activity): Komorebi: ‘a dance of shadows emerging when sunlight filters through trees’
The forces of money and power would certainly like us to forget all about this year and go back to exactly the way things were, like a teacher intoning, “All right, class, back to your desks,” while the first flurries are falling outside. Maybe we will; insights are evanescent, and habit has a leaden inertia. But a lot of people went very far away over the course of this past year, deep into themselves, and not all of us are going to come all the way back.
I’ve always thought the essayist Tim Kreider was criminally underrated — he’s sort of like David Sedaris’s bon vivant cousin. Loved his latest essay in The Atlantic: I’m Not Scared to Reenter Society. I’m Just Not Sure I Want To.
The person you think you used to be has gone, and is never coming back. The idealised impression of your past self that your present self competes with is a mirage. Every moment you live is a rapid and shocking abandonment of the last version of yourself. You are forever ‘straying from the person you used to be’. You are an autonomous entity coursing through time, moored only to the eternal now.
Nick Cave sounds very Zen in the latest issue of The Red Hand files. (Also he is routinely dispensing some of the wisest advice on living life and making art the internet has to offer.)
Now that the doors are open and the masks are coming off, there’s going to be such a tsunami of oddness in the months to come and honestly, we embrace every bit of it. Let’s dress weird. Let’s put on clown clothes or be inappropriately sexy. Let’s all have that Studio 54 moment we all deserve. Imbibe if you can. Indulge if you want to. We all waited for a return to normalcy and now it feels like none of us are quite ready to be completely normal yet.
Absolutely loved this post from fashion bloggers Tom + Lorenzo’s new newsletter, Twirling Through It, about stripping ourselves of the idea of normalcy as we exit this hellish period. Their bitchy, intelligent red carpet critiques have been a daily read for me for well over a decade.
Hard agree here.
Quote I’m Pondering
“I didn’t care about truth; I cared about beauty. It took me many years—it took the experience of lived time—to realize that they really are the same thing.”
From Elif Batuman’s excellent memoir, The Possessed.
We Will Meet Again!
The next Tiny Revolutions in person meetup will be Sunday, June 27th. Details to come, but you can go ahead and RSVP to sling it on the ol’ calendar.
Before I go, here’s a Tiny Assignment:
p.s. Thanks for reading, as always!
p.p.s. Share this with someone who needs permission to chill the fuck out for a while.