Learning to appreciate a variety of things is important for what I call an independent lifestyle, that is, one in which sheer busyness, phony pragmatism, and chasing after toys and status symbols is not the 'meaning of life.'
I had a couple examples of appreciation that were new to me, recently. My dog and I were returning on a mountain bike ride. Therefore we were cruising downhill. Another dirt road 'teed' into ours. Coming down this road were a half dozen large beautiful horses, with riders. I guessed that the horsewoman who led the troupe was the employee of a nearby (dude) guest ranch.
I asked and she confirmed it, in four or five words. That's all it took for me to bike away, cooing, and fluttering my eyelashes at the sheer prettiness of her voice. This effect was so exaggerated that I had to wonder about it.
Was it just the usual joy juice in my blood that comes from mountain biking? This has happened so many times. Sometimes it almost scares me. Certainly, that is some of the explanation.
And yes, some women really do have lovely voices. Their voices can be amazingly clear on the telephone when the man's voice sounds like mere mumbling. I thought I was only knocked over by the hit-arias sung by the soprano in Puccini operas.
But maybe I was just being a dirty old man, and was imagining that woman in tight blue jeans, riding her horse away from me? Or maybe it was seeing people enjoy a traditional western experience?
It is rare to find a town in America that has any individual character. For the most part, they are all the same. It fits in with the massen-mensch mindset of democracy. And the consumption of mass media. And besides, there is barely enough freedom in modern America to display individuality.
Despite all that, Mayberry-for-Hippies, AZ, allows dogs in their public library. One day a reader came through with their miniature schnauzer in tow. He was grey and older, and so sedate. His whole personality reminded me of a little old man who runs an antique book store in London: you know the image, a cardigan sweater, nerdy eyeglasses, and maybe a little mustache.
I simply cannot forget that little dog. It's like he was born to work in that library. Of all the times I have been charmed by dogs, that experience is still my favorite.