An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of October 4, 2009
issued from the Siskiyou Mountains west of Grants Pass, Oregon, USA

COLORS OF SIMPLICITY

colors of simplicity

The other day I passed by Anita's kitchen table as she was juicing grapes. On the table several pails of grapes surrounded a random collection of other fruits from backyard trees and vines, as shown above.

It means a lot to me to coexist with such color and texture in my everyday life, to have the time to admire these things and take them into my own spirit. Such gorgeousness satisfies a great hunger in me.

In fact, it's interesting that some people considering my disinterest in material wealth seem to think that I live as I do because I strive to "be good" in an ethical sense. I like thinking of myself as living ethically, but I have to admit that mostly my lifestyle results from something else entirely.

Much of the reason I live as I do is because I am such a gluttonous, sensual fellow. Remember that when I left the farm in the 1960s I weighed 340 pounds (154kgs). I am programmed for gluttony and I know all about it firsthand.

It's just that over the years my tastes for what I'm hungry for have changed. Somehow, one day I began hungering more for a healthy, good-looking body (and the women that such a body might catch) than I did the greasy hamburgers that earlier I'd craved. I developed an irresistible hankering for free time to do what I wanted, a desire much stronger than my wants for things that cost money. I found myself with an all-consuming lust for freedom, and that passion simply blew away all appetite I'd had until then for the comforts and securities that most people strive for.

Moreover, I became epicurean in my tastes. It wasn't enough, for instance, to eat healthily: I wanted to taste that healthy food with intensity. Experimenting in ways to satisfy that special hunger I blundered onto the discovery that food tastes best when it's eaten with great moderation. The same with women and good music -- all things complex and worthy enough to be interesting are best enjoyed when ravenous for them.

Commonness never is admired, but rarity is a quality of any treasure. Indulgence deadens our senses, but hunger imparts an edge to flavors no fancy chef can attain. A preoccupied mind overlooks much, but an unhurried mind at peace and emptied of distractions can dwell on any loveliness that happens along.

"I make myself rich by making my wants few," Thoreau said, having recognized the principle long before I. Facebook Icon.