Simple Gifts

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come round right.

I had a bit of an epiphany one day last week while driving in the car and listening to an arrangement of this. As it was, it didn’t last long (I WAS driving after all, which is enough to destroy the simple pleasures of even the most devout Shaker).

According to Wikipedia this was written as a ‘dance song’ or ‘quick dance’ for the Shaker community.  They often used group dance as a form of worship during their service. (While I admire the Shaker community, what they stood for, their resourcefulness and their style of building, I do have to say that not allowing people to marry and have children was a pretty good way to consign their group to a death sentence.)  If you are ever in Kentucky, I recommend a trip to Shaker Village to get the flavor of their life.

I was trying to think what I consider as simple gifts. Family, friendship, my garden (any garden), my pets. Reading (tactile reading, not virtual words). Playing the piano and singing. Birds at the bird feeder.  Trees. Everything that makes life in a modern world slow down and be worth living.


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