The sea looks tranquil today, air at 21 degrees Celsius. Surfer classes are out learning the way of waves — ¬†how to pick a good one, find its power beneath your board, and ride.

I’m told it’s a feat of strength and¬†coordination requiring lots of practice. Young people here in surfers’ paradise seem to respect it as a talent they either have or don’t.

It’s coming clearer to me how the simple pleasures of life are appreciated here in the southwest of France. I live here now, thanks to a lot of coordinates of grace and my generous family. The charm of the place was palpable in earlier visits. But it’s not just the beautiful food, the ancient architecture, the gently rolling hills, the kindness of the people.

The word may be, simply, enjoyment. Ordinary word, right? And yet a huge word in its truest sense of ’embracing joy as living way.’

When one stops still to look, the patterns left on sand as each wave slides in and retreats stun the eye with their clarity. Each new crash of wave reminds me to stand in today and receive the gift. Somehow the French culture seems to reflect this wonder, to appreciate the simple gift of life, and to celebrate it.

Food is prepared in nutritious portions, colorfully presented, and recognized as important ritual of good living for the family and friends, for the body and soul. Wine is a natural part of the pleasure.

It’s also possible that I’m romanticizing, a transposed American who’s waking up to the delights of this place, this life, these richly alive people, and the goodness in the universe today and each day, if one’s heart is open to it.

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