A Life Given to Simple Things

Made some sangria on Saturday and it was not bad. Funny, I just woke up that morning with two cravings: one for lilacs, and one for sangria. I went out and picked some lilacs and arranged them in an old milk bottle and set it on the dining room table. Craving satisfied. And, oh, that smell. The scent of blooming lilacs.

Then I went and dug into my recipe box and pulled out a sangria recipe. Had to run out and pick up a mango and some rum, and the pitcher is now full of sangria in the fridge. After that, I went outside and picked up rocks and threw them back home into the landscaping, and I planted some flower seeds (which means I threw the contents of a few seed packs up into the air on the edge of the lawn where the swampy grass begins) and I made a pan of bars and a meatloaf for dinner.

That’s how it goes. I wake up every morning with something on my mind and it almost always gets done. There’s a Japanese word, “Ikigai”, whose meaning is pretty much “a reason for being”, and a sense of meaning and joy and purpose with some well-being thrown in there. I didn’t know there was a word for this until I ran across it in an article, and I have to say that “ikigai” is something I feel most days a few minutes after my alarm goes off.

It’s important, purpose is. We need to feel our lives are meaningful, and purpose helps. Throw in some joy and well-being in there and you’ve got it made. Ikigai. You probably have it and don’t even know it, and it’s important, too, to take note of what you’ve got. As for me, on this lovely June day, I’ve got a lot. More seeds to plant, some rhubarb to harvest, neighbors for whom to bake, a partner with and for whom to cook, some picnics and grad parties down the road, and this lovely milk bottle full of lilacs on my table. Such abundance, I say, in a life given to simple things. How fortunate I am. And now the birds are singing, and the geese are back with their goslings, and the neighbor’s dog just wandered over looking for scraps. Which I also have. I saved a good bone just for her. Time to wind down the day now, and I think I’ll sweep the porch. Mostly because I can, and sweeping is relaxing, and who knows who might walk by and say “hello” awhile.

Here’s my favorite sangria recipe, perfect for entertaining on hot summer days. Give it a whirl. You never do know ‘til you try.


1 liter rose wine
1 cup rum
1 cup pineapple juice
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 lemon (sliced into rounds)
1 lime (sliced into rounds)
1 mango (peeled and cut into chunks)
½ cup sugar, optional

In a large glass pitcher, combine the wine, rum, pineapple juice, lemon juice and sugar. Stir.
Add the sliced lemons and limes, and the mango. Chill. Garnish with lemon or lime peel and serve it on up!


  1. gail in northern California
    June 3, 2019

    Ximi expressed so well what I couldn’t. The simplicity of your writing has me reading passages more than once. This one I copied and sent to a friend who needs some cheer (and maybe some of that sangria). You are a delight.
    Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

  2. Ximi
    June 1, 2019

    If there were a literary equivalent of Norman Rockwell. Rarely can I read you aloud without pausing to deal with the catch in my throat. You share your gifts well.

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