Life Is For Living

At odd times of the day I hear boat horns from down on the bay as the boats round the point to Sydney Harbour. Have you ever really listened to a boat horn? It is plaintive, even in sunlight, like an animal lost in the mist, calling, calling, hoping for someone, anyone to acknowledge it is there. Sometimes other boat horns answer, but most of the time there is just one single blare of a horn that plunges out across the water then disappears, swallowed up by the wind and the sky.

Those boat horns make me think about the things that mark our days, our life. I hear a lot of people say they’re just waiting for that big event to happen – job promotion, marriage, losing weight, buying a house, selling a house, writing a book – so they can start living; but we’re living while we’re waiting for that big event.

Little events make our lives more than great ones. The phone rings. Somebody puts the kettle on. A friend comes over. The washing blows dry.

The postman leaves a letter. Honeyeaters argue over blooms in the garden. Somebody cooks bacon. A baby cries. A lawnmower trundles over grass.

A printer whirrs. Leaves are swept. A door opens. Another closes. A clock sounds the hour. A text message is received. A computer starts up. Somebody opens a bottle of wine. Somebody waters the garden.

Little events. Some of them happen to us every day. We sleep. We wake. We begin again. The little events are as much a part of living as the big ones. In many ways they set the rhythm of our days. Like  grinding beans for coffee, making sandwiches and picking flowers in the garden. Some day we might just look back to find the little events were great all along. As great as eating a slice of freshly-baked cake and oh, yes, boat horns.

26 thoughts on “Life Is For Living

  1. This is so true Selma.

    I’m not waiting on the next big thing. I’m too busy living in the joyous banalities of everyday and sharing the mundane with someone special, to be holding out for anything else that might come my way.


  2. I haven’t a boat horn in almost twenty years, Selma. When I was in the Navy I heard them so often I ignored them, but now that you mention it, I miss them. Thanks for the reminder!


  3. Selma, how right you are! I always feel sad when I hear people say that they know all will be right when_ (fill-in-the-blank)____. I just know things will never be right for this person. As I’m aging, maybe because I know time is passing, I get furious at people who squander life in wait mode. Luckily, Selma, you are not one of them.


  4. this is ever so true,, not only in that life is lived while we wait for those ever important things to happen,, but, in the end, they are what we really remember, what brings us the most joy…..

    beautiful post sel…


  5. Truer words were never spoken. A good reminder for all of us. I’m going to contemplate your words today as I head to the kitchen for a cooking “marathon”. 😉

    Thanks Sel.

    Hugs, G


  6. This post is beautiful Selma. I so love these simple little things. Right nowI can hear the birds singing, the wind blowing through the trees and I am watching the clouds move across the sky. So many moments… Thanks for your wonderful post.


  7. BEAR:
    Absolutely agree. Love the joy in the everyday things!!

    I didn’t realise you were in the Navy. You’ll have to post about some of your experiences sometime. I would love to hear about them. I love boat horns. My irish side of the family were fishermen and often, when I hear a horn it reminds me of them. It also reminds me that Sydney used to be a thriving, working port rather than a playground for the rich and famous with their waterfront apartments!! Aaaah, the good old days….

    I try not to allow myself to sink into ‘wait mode.’ I’ve seen so many people do it and have found it upsetting. I am trying to train myself to appreciate the beauty in the ordinary and the everyday. It’s a more cheerful way of living!!

    A friend of mine recently lost her father. He was a very wealthy man. One of his fondest memories was reading a book in the evening with his dog at his feet. You don’t need to be rich to experience that. He could have remembered traveling around the world or buying a yacht but he remembered the times he shared with his dog. Got me thinking….

    A cooking marathon sounds great. Shame I can’t pop over for some samples. I will drop by soon!!

    Oh, absolutely. All my favourite writers include those little details of everyday life. You are right – the result is vivid!!

    Thanks so much. It is true, isn’t it? It’s the little things we remember most!

    It does get easier as you go along. You can actually train yourself to do it. It has made a huge difference to the way I look at things. XXX

    There is something so majestic about watching the clouds blow across the sky. I am one of those people who likes to lie on the grass and watch for ages. Lovely.

    It is a great thing to see. Love the smell of washing that has dried in the wind and the sun!!


  8. I think that always waiting for life to happen thing is something that lots of us do when younger. I know I did it. I was always looking ahead to my next job, next house, next baby, next holiday. It was only when I stopped doing that a few years ago that I began to enjoy everyday things for what they are. I still feel a bit guilty sometimes about being happy with what I have – when people say what do you look forward to and I can’t really think of anything, well, I feel a bit as if maybe I have lost me sense of adventure and imagination a bit, that maybe I am settling for too little. But mostly I just get on with things now and like you say – I enjoy all the little things.


  9. this is beautiful and so true. I love the sound of boat horns, and always its the small things I notice, if we’re always waiting for that magical special event we just miss so much


    There is definitely a tendency to wait for the next big thing when we’re younger, for sure. I think I still look forward to certain big things but I don’t do so at the expense of the little things as I used to. Maybe I’ve finally grown up. 😀

    Absolutely agree. Just like Aerosmith said : ‘Don’t wanna miss a thing!’

    What a profound comment. It’s so true!!


  11. What an insightful and entertaining blog post! I just turned 52 last week. And I’ve learned that the little things are what makes a life truly meaningful. The big things make be “events.” But the little things are the magic that keeps your life glued together.


  12. Oh, how I adore the little things. The seemingly insignificant moments, such as the greeting of the morning breeze as I stand on the porch. Or the sound of a brewing espresso as I wait in anticipation. Or the sincere smile of a stranger passing by. You’re right. Life is here. Life is now.


  13. BRENDA:
    How nice of you to stop by. A belated Happy Birthday!! Little things mean a lot, just like the song, I completely agree!

    I totally love the sound of a brewing espresso. Today, three strangers smiled at me. I loved that too!!


  14. oh, so very, very true – this is one of my favorite posts – i love everything about it! my dear, the poet in you is creeping out – there is a beautiful list poem in here – all the images you chose are so fresh & innovative, so resonant, so concise – and the boat horn ties everything together – wonderful writing – wonderful uplifting content – such a blessing this is!!


  15. RICHARD:
    He was such a profound observer of the human condition, wasn’t he?

    For you to say the poet in me is creeping out is just about the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. I would love more than anything to be a poet, but there is a hitch – I can’t write poetry. A glimpse every now and then will have to do. Thanks, hon!


  16. So true how the small things are often the ones that give meaning to our lives. You have an amazing way of writing, Selma! I have missed you ~~


  17. KATE:
    I have missed you too. Although I am not much of a gardener, truth be told, I did so love hearing about your garden, and your fiddle playing. You painted such a vivid portrait of your life. I found it very comforting!!


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