When you're busy and stressed, it's all too easy to forget about the simple pleasures that don't need to be slaved over or paid for. Yesterday evening I walked through part of the University Parks, across the water meadows. It wasn't typical feel-good weather — there was a very soft rain falling, and the skies were charcoal grey — but I did feel good. The evening was a riot of bird song. Something about the soft dampness in the air meant that their songs seemed sweeter and more focussed. All was green and fresh and almost visibly growing before my eyes. The rain wasn't falling hard enough to get you really wet, but it was soothing and cooling after a day spent in front of a computer screen — like someone you love stroking your face gently with cool, smooth hands. It was so good that I smiled (and probably made myself look like a dangerous lunatic to passers-by, but what the hell).
Of course, these kinds of experiences soon get overlaid by more stress, more frustration, more obsession with work, but just writing about it now is enough to make me smile and relax again.