Huhu, I love mysterious titles. Those of you who are familiar with HBO’s TV show “John Adams”, and paid attention might recognize these words: “that little shrub”. Well, it might be what John Adams actually said once, I’m not sure, but they’ve put it in the TV show anyway. And these words, in their proper context, were one of the most relatable, and therefore important for me.
At one point in the series, John Adams, an old man now, enjoys his final years. One day, he goes on another of his many walks. This time with his son. In an attempt to share the valuable knowledge of life that he has learned himself, he gives a monologue, the conclusion of which goes like this:
I have seen a queen of France with 18 million livres of diamonds on her person, but I declare that all the charms of her face and figure added to all the glitter of her jewels did not impress me as much as that little shrub right there. Now your mother always said that I never delighted enough in the mundane, but now I find that if I look at even the smallest thing my imagination begins to roam the milky way!
“John Adams”, HBO.
Now, I’ve talked about appreciating the common before. I just couldn’t express my exact feelings about this the way it’s expressed in that quote. And this is a huge deal for me, finding a quote like that. Because I’ve watched that scene and read this words only after I realized how much I adore the common, the simple, the regular. I’ve stated before, that one of the hopes I have for this blog, is to find people who think like me about certain things. And I wanted to do so without risking sharing my weird, or at least unusual thoughts with people who might not think like me, where the situation might get uncomfortable for both of us. I’ve explained, that because of my disasterous last couple of years, I don’t know if these thoughts are really something to keep inside, or if they’re common at least to some extent, and just not talked about that often. It looks like I have my answer, or a part of it.
John Adams and me, we lived very different lives, as you can imagine. To be honest, I’m not that familiar with the specifics of his life, he’s not a popular figure where I live. I started to read on him, but it will take time. I can’t be sure what’s the real source of the quote. If these are actually his words, or just a script written by someone who had done an incredible amount of research to make a historically and biographically accurate TV show about one of the most important people of his time. But it this case, this selfish case, it doesn’t really matter. Because whether it was Mr. Adams himself, or the writer’s take, it’s still a thought someone created, understood, and believed in.
Now, you might be thinking: “this isn’t such a unusual approach, many people love all the wonders and miracles of the world”. But that just isn’t exactly what I’m talking about. Everyone will appreaciate a garden, with all its flowers and colors. You don’t have to be a romantic to feel inspired in such a scenery. Just as there are milions of people around the world, who enjoy a day spent on walks through forests and fields, with all the beautiful landscape, the nature around. But how many people stop on these walks to appreciate “that little shrub”? How many people notice a shrub among the flowers, and judge it not by its faults, but by its contribution? When was the last time you fell in love with a thing so mundane, so regular, and at the same time so untouched? To love the beautiful, however simple and popular, is one thing. But to recognize the value of its individual elements, seemingly irrelevant and trivial, is a completely different thought.
And let me tell you, it is a one wonderful thought. Well, thought, feeling, call it whatever you want, actually. It’s one of those rare occasions where it probably is both. But just that state of excitement. Seeing the incredible beauty in things you wouldn’t normally consider beautiful, or wouldn’t pay any attention to whatsoever in the first place. It’s so powerful.
I haven’t always been like that. In fact, before I learned to see at the world this way, I was a very depressed person, who not only wasn’t able to, but also didn’t bother to look for the miracles of the common things. I wasn’t even aware there can be any. But it’s a whole different universe now, since I had my eyes opened. This euphoria is over a year old, and doesn’t seem to be coming to an end. I don’t think I’ll let it.
But even if it should one day stop being the main force driving me through the life with a smile on my face, internal and external, I know that I won’t go back to my old ways. Not as long as I remember what it’s like. Even if I stop seeing beauty, and see just the regular, I’ll remember.
Because this, right now, might be the best time of my life. Maybe because of the contrast of today and the days before all these great things happened to me, but it feels like I’m on a level I’ve never been before, nor one I could return to, should I fall eventually. And the memory of how this all feels, will stay with me forever. And because of that, I will never return to be the blind man, the prisoner I used to be. Doesn’t matter what the future has in mind for me.
I will always remember the time when I was Calmest Waters.