The struggle to find a delight ended in a victory for life over anti-life
This is my quest, to seek moments of presence that cast a kind of halo on the moments around them
It’s not always easy to find delights, even when you’re looking for them, even when you have all the time in the world and nothing else to do but look for delights. The worst thing about not finding delights is you feel guilty. What sort of a person, you start to ask, can find no delight in this vast and infinitely varied world?
I should explain: I have started looking for daily delights. I was inspired by the African-American poet and gardener Ross Gay, who published A Book of Delights. He set himself the task of noticing and recording one thing a day that caused him delight, be that delight deep or shallow, profound or ephemeral. Being delighted is an active skill: you have to train yourself to see it and recognise it, the way a game ranger learns to see birds, or doctors recognise symptoms. He started on his 42nd birthday and gave himself the challenge to keep it up for a year.
Some of his joys are encounters with other people, or with cities or art or moments of sensual pleasure; many are moments he experiences working with plants and flowers, running his hands through soil. I have never been a gardener, but reading his writing about the joys of growing things makes me think I’ve been missing out...