Today, I found a most unusual one. I was walking my dog, Einstein, around Lake Temescal and decided that I was going to pick up all the dog poop that was lying along the trail.
My first motive for doing so was altruistic: It would keep people from stepping in it. But after filling a few poop bags, I found myself deriving pleasure from doing it:
- It was a concrete accomplishment. It took just a few moments per pile yet each one made a difference.
- It was a treasure hunt: It was fun searching for the next pile.
- I derived the pleasure of knowing that I was walking the talk: I've long said that all work is worthy work, even the lowliest. It doesn't get much lower than dung remover.
- I felt a pleasant sense of humility from doing such lowly work.
Perhaps if dung removal were my full-time job, I wouldn't wax so rhapsodic about it, but my honest feeling is that even if it were, as long as it paid a living wage, I wouldn't mind it. It certainly would be a lower-stress life.
In any event, I left the lake in a bit better shape than when I arrived. Hmm: Leave a place better than when you entered it. Not a bad principle for the life well-led.