Cutting the tiny green-leafed caps off mini bell peppers. Scraping out the seedy insides. I will roast them, blend them with cashews, hot pepper flakes, and whole garlic cloves. Salt, pepper, parmesan, a bit of olive oil, and voilà.
What I have learned from writing daily is that all this may mean something. I don't always know what, but if I don't pay attention, I may miss it. So I write it down. I mull over the ordinary, letting it incubate.
I have lived long enough to know that if the meaning of life is comprised of accomplishment, then meaning will always be delayed, and if it does come, it will feel spectacularly smaller than expected. Meaning must be mined from the mundane, or nothing. To find this meaning, we must perform tasks in silence, attuned to the feeling of every action, every living and seemingly non-living thing.
Joan Miro knew this, the Catalan painter. He said, "For me an object is alive; this cigarette, this matchbox, contain a secret life much more intense than certain humans. I see a tree, I get a shock, as if it were something breathing, talking. A tree too is something human."
So is a pepper, perhaps. Today I was able to notice a great many things, and noticing is a decent definition of happiness. I noticed the bright orange color of the sauce, the lightness of this new pasta brand, the relief of gulping water after a salty meal. I noticed how the spearmint tea leaves rise to the top of the French press, amber slowly staining the clear water. I also noticed that the thick gray out the window appeared to be mist today, and not smog (a thoughtful thing and not the pollution which suffocates). This may not have been true, but Faure's Elegy in C minor made it feel more poetic (walking through an English garden) than depressing (holed up in a stale apartment).
A few bits of beauty, some large swatches of silence. These small wonders can save you.