The Joy of Small Things

There’s a place by the Summer House in Mount Congreve Garden that I like to call my own and last season I used to sit on one of the trunks of many trees that had been blown down in some of the worst storms we’d had here in Ireland for years.

It’s a quiet part of the Garden and when I went over there the other day, I was bracing myself to find that my tree trunk would have been cleared away.

It came as a great surprise to find that it had been carved to make a little seat and that it is clearly there to stay.

This may seem like a small thing; it is a small thing but small things can bring immense joy.

Home from Home

This is where I intend to spend many, many hours over the next few months; writing, thinking, picnicking, sun-bathing, maybe even blogging!

What small things have made YOU glow with gratitude in recent times? 

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

31 thoughts on “The Joy of Small Things”

  1. What a wonderful tree trunk seat — now I see I should have kept a slice of one of the trees that had to be cut here last summer. A commemorative seat would have been a comfort after losing the trees, and a great addition to the back garden.

  2. That is more than a small thing. It is a wonderful thing. There is a grocery store chain in Texas, HEB, and they built a new store under protest by the neighborhood about all the beautiful trees that would have to be cut down. HEB listened and built the parking lot around many large trees, and the ones that were cut down became benches for shoppers to sit and have lunch or just rest after shopping. That small action of a big business made the neighborhood more receptive to the store, and now it’s a huge part of the community.

  3. I really enjoy your theme, Jean! I love the idea of sitting on that bench and write… I must say it’s like an aphrodisiac and an invitation in spending a quality time. My example of a simple joy comes from a shake of a little hand ( arount 4 years old) sharing peace of the world…

  4. A place to contemplate in a quiet place is a joy to have. We have a garden bench nestled down at the back of our property. It is far away to muffle the noise of the traffic that goes by in the front of our house. Ours is made of cement and has ornamentation of vines going up the sides of the back only a place to sit. We did have a similar one like what’s in the picture made from a fallen tree, but the insects loved it too. It’s always nice to have a special place to free ones mind. You also have the picturesque tranquility all around you..

    1. Joni, your garden sounds like a real haven.
      So, I’d better watch out for insects on my seat. I don’t smoke but my mother swore that just having a lit cigarette kept insects at bay. Maybe the insects knew more about the dangers of cigarette smoke than humans!

  5. I’ve had occurrences like that in my past Jean, but that said, I’ve had considerable joy recently from large things that have happened without any input from me. Due to a random occurrence that actually occurred because I am handicapped, I seem to be moving to Vancouver and living under much better circumstances than i am now for less money. When I had a terrible leg infection and couldn’t even walk, my neighbor went to the store everyday for me – not because I asked but because he wanted to. Because my neighbor wanted his car taken to Vancouver, I am going to be able to take a road trip across the continent and meet some of the bloggers I look up to – all expenses paid as I move. When my laptop died, i got the gift of a wonderful, powerful, gently used, laptop from Robyn Lawson – Blog Woman!!! – an amazing gift that I am writing on right now. When I couldn’t get this laptop to hook to the internet, the worst snowstorm on record struck and I blew the power in the building. When the circuit breakers were reset, the internet came back – must have been a weak breaker or a partially tripped breaker leaking low voltage to the router.

    I could go on Jean and yet I feel very honored by these occurrences. I thank God for the help – all things could have been much worse.

      1. I am currently about 1000 kms west of the Atlantic ocean. This move would be to the far west side if the continent – about 4,000 kms west of here (that’s about 2,400 miles). Vancouver ( ) is the third largest metropolitan area in Canada and it sits between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The climate is much better than here and it is rare for them to see snow. it is surrounded by Rainforest and some of the Giant sequoia trees grow to be 200-300 feet high and 3,000 to 4,000 years old – many were more than 1,000 years old when Christ was born ( It is less than an hour drive to the United States west coast – a few hours to Seattle and a day’s drive to Los Angeles. The city is very alive and vibrant with a large Asian population. There is a whole pile of islands along the coast , the largest being Victoria Island where the capital of BC, Victoria, is located. Many large ferries ply the waters hauling passengers, cars and freight between the islands. There is a large indigenous First Nations population who live off of the forests. The forests are absolutely gorgeous and much is untouched by man. Wandering around in these forests requires a big rifle as there is a huge Grizzly bear population – and they are omnivores, meaning humans make a great snack. ( ) 😀 And at up to 1,500 pounds and standing 6 1/2 feet on his rear legs, a Grizzly can kill a human with one blow. Normally they run when they see humans but if they are hungry or injured or protecting young or mating, they become dangerous. there is a Grizzly Bear Forest where White grizzlys live – they are considered powerful good spirits for the First Nations.

        There is a huge university there – University of British Columbia ( ) – which has 58,000 full time students.

        Anyway, I expect to be moving towards the end of May – I’ll keep you posted. 😀

          1. For sure Jean. 😀 One of the things that surprises most Europeans when they visit is the distances between places here. When I hauled off Newfoundland, there were places where there were 200 kilometers (120 miles) of low grade dirt roads without a single building or person. It is actually further across Canada than it is from Canada to Ireland. From Halifax (my birthplace on the east coast) to Vancouver is 6167 kms (and there is still another 1,000+ kms further east to St.John’s Nfld) and to Waterford Ireland it is 4,103 kms – 2,000 kms shorter. Problem is, of course, it is a lot wetter getting to Ireland – Ha!

            1. I agree about the differing perceptions of distance. Here in Ireland we always think it’s a bit crazy the way visitors from the US and Canada think nothing of driving around Ireland in a couple of days. We tend to take our time about going from place to place and could spend a whole month just visiting one county ~ like Waterford. No doubt it all goes back to the size of the place one comes from and the type of transport etc that’s available and affordable.

            2. I find the comparisons fascinating – even in reading magazines. When I was safety director of a tanker company we used to receive some British trucking magazines. There was always a section on who had gotten fined and why and how much – very personalized especially around logbook hours. That would never happen here – they might mention that a company had had say, 20 log violations but they would never personalize it to the individual and would never describe the circumstances. Everything seems so much more personal and human in your part of the world. I understand though, that that makes the cost of living much higher in Europe. We are starting to get some of that here in small areas. For instance in Canada in general the average price of a single family dwelling is about$400k. In some rural areas you can buy the same for about $150k and in highly sought after, high density areas like Vancouver, the same house is about $720k (that’s €100,000 / €269,000/ €484,000). We’re paying about$8.80 for a kilo of lean hamburger and about $6.00 for 500 grams of sliced cheese. What are you paying?

            3. Would you believe , Paul, I haven’t gone metric at all, though the food prices sound about right.
              House prices here vary HUGELY depending on location.

  6. Someone must have spotted you sitting there and decided to make a seat just for you. It’s so inviting, I just might be sitting on it next time you get there, 😉

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