Today’s pearl of wisdom from The Alchemist comes early in the book. (p 7)
Santiago visits a fortune teller for guidance. He wants to know if he should travel to Egypt to pursue a treasure he sees in a recurring dream. The fortune teller tells him what he already knows. He should go to Egypt to pursue the treasure. When Santiago expresses his annoyance, the fortune teller responds:
“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men (sic) are able to understand them.”Paulo coehlo, the alchemist
Whenever I think of simple things and pictures, I come back to this image from a trip to Utah in 2007. I named it “Little Things” and it became a photo in my online gallery and a Christmas card the following year.
There was nothing simple about making this photo. My friend Beth and I had to travel from Toronto and Boston to Utah and then make our way to Bryce Canyon. We got up before dawn to drive, then hike to the ridge of canyon in the dark. Headlights and all, we walked slowly along the canyon ridge. Open space to the left and unseen canyon to the right, I was both terrified and exhilarated.
The sun began its ascent and revealed the hoodoos and open space below. I took out my wide angle lens and captured the sweeping view. Eventually I settled enough to see the smaller scenes like this photo, of a simple lone tree in its environment. It became one of my favorites, a metaphor for a simpler approach to seeing.
It’s easy to believe I have to be doing extraordinary things to experience the awe of simple. Something happened moments ago that reminded me otherwise.
Scrivener is my software of choice for writing. It keeps what would be hundreds of documents in projects that are like big binders. It simplifies organization. However, Scrivener’s autocorrect wants to begin every new line with an upper case letter.
This might not seem to be a big deal, and it does make some sense. But I often begin new lines – especially when I’m getting started – with links to websites, page numbers, or sentence fragments that become lists.
No matter how many times I tried undo the automatic capital, with backspaces, deletes and cursor returns, it always comes back. The recurring capital letter takes me out of any semblance of flow.
Today is the day I decided to do something about this annoyance I’ve been tolerating. I left Scrivener to ask The Google. Within moments I saw I am not the first to be driven around the bend by this “correction.” I found the setting and turned it off, setting off a spontaneous eruption.
“I got you, you little shit!”
Relief and celebration shot from my brain out to my body, culminating in a laugh of victory.
A reminder that in the most routine of things, the simple things count.