Living like Ferdinand


The story of Ferdinand the Bull by Munro Leaf (totally awesome name!) is one of my favorite childhood books. If you don’t know, Ferdinand is a gentle soul who just likes to smell the flowers until the day he sits on a bee and is transformed into the most fearsome fighting bull in all of Spain and is taken to the arena. Fortunately it has a happy ending.

This post is about the first part of that description. The importance of pausing and just breathing in beauty.

Today is warm. There were robins on the trail and starlings bugling glossily in the trees. I stopped and looked at the sea and then I turned and looked at the town. Both views pleased me immensely. I could feel the sun on the back of my neck and the ice underfoot has melted enough that I didn’t slip and fall (like I did yesterday when it was much colder). Thank goodness for the natural padding of bottoms, that’s all I have to say.

And I just found out that tomorrow will be likewise warm. A mirror of another perfect day.

One of my worst faults is I feel that I am always waiting. For news, for change, for something to happen, for quiet, for the weekend.
This does no good to anyone. What’s wrong with the present? Isn’t it a present? A gift?
I resolved (though in a lazy way ’cause I’m not so much about rules and strictures) to live in the moment more.
I didn’t really think it would stick. The leopard changing his spots etc….I have earned the right to be set in my ways, surely?!
I plan on being one hell of a crotchetty, opinionated old woman!

But you know what? I am actually sort of doing precisely that.

Lately I’ve noticed how good things taste. I almost swooned the other day while eating a salad with avocado, roasted almonds and goat cheese. And the Lindt chocolate heart that the Fireman gave me last night, made my knees weaken. I closed my eyes when I ate it.
I opened my eyes when I looked at the beautiful sights on my walk this morning.
I closed my eyes when I sniffed the leaves of the tiny lemon trees I grew from seed over the winter.

This world is delicious.

And you know what else is delicious? The words we have available to us whenever we strive to describe what we see, taste, smell, hear.
So yay for Ferdinand!

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4 Responses to Living like Ferdinand

  1. Trish C. says:

    You’re so right, ya know? Reading your descriptions of salad and chocolate and so many other things made me dizzy. Looking at the world around us (even though where I am it’s not that pretty by normal people’s standards) we see that there’s so much we all miss. Can we even imagine how the world’ll be when all the problems/pollution/wickedness is gone? (Psalm 37:10,11)
    That’s what’s so wonderful about writing: we can describe our world in such detail that those who read it can almost taste/see/hear it. Cheers for Ferdinand!

    • Jo says:

      Hi Trish. I’m lucky to be living in a beautiful place now but in the past I’ve lived in some terribly depressed urban cities and always managed to find beauty which in a way is even more transcendent because it is unexpected. I think about how a single beloved person can transform the way we think of a place, or something small like a dandelion in the cracks of a sidewalk, or a smile from a stranger.
      It’s all in the way we look at it.

  2. katherine langrish says:

    I was hoping this post’d be about Ferdinand the bull and it was! You are so right, Jo, although I sometimes wish I didn’t have to draw the curtains on the sunlight and work on a computer in the half-dark…

    But it makes the contrast of getting out and walking the dog so much nicer!

    • Jo says:

      Another beautiful day of feeling thankful.
      Sometimes I try to put my head down and work without distraction but my office opens out onto a wall of windows and just beyond the sea. One glance and I am lost!