Reverie at Bennys Place

The Joys of Simple Pleasures

You may be wondering why exactly I am sharing my lunch with you. At the time I began writing this post, I had just returned from picking up some film after being developed. Yes, that’s right, actual film from a manual camera but more on that later. After picking up the film, I went to Starbucks to get my favorite – trente unsweetened green tea with a touch of honey and then Del Taco to get their epic steak & potato burrito.

Starbucks Unsweetened Green Tea

The Del Taco Eating Experience

After I got home, I had to get back to work so I heated the burrito quickly and brought it upstairs to my office to be enjoyed. I had a taco as well and because I am very much a save the best for last type of individual, I ate the burrito last. I took a bite and the taste was heavenly. I know it is fast food but I don’t eat this type of food much these days as I am trying my best to get my weight down to a number my endocrinologist will be most happy with. I have been very disciplined lately and it is paying off. I was in such a giddy mood after picking up the photos, I thought okay, let’s have a bit of a treat.

This burrito was amazing. Yes, I know, it’s Del Taco but with each bite, so many flavors hit my palette all at once. First the tangy, velvety sour cream, then the smoky, prepared just right so it was not overly crunchy but more on the chewy side bacon, the sharp cheddar, the carne asada steak, the lettuce, the potatoes, the Del Taco hot sauce and the soft tortilla all came together beautifully to form the perfect bite. I took my time eating the burrito allowing each flavor to be enjoyed individually and collectively. I even put on some good eating music. My choice? “O-o-h Child” by The Five Stairsteps. This song actually brings tears to my eyes each time I hear it so this was really the perfect choice to go with such a moment of perfect happiness and perfect contentment.

Del Taco Epic Steak and Potato Burrito

The Simple Things in Life

Happiness, joy, contentment, bliss and harmony with one’s existence. These may seem like outdated terms perhaps associated with the flower children of the sixties. Today, if you go on about such things you are automatically labeled as one with your head in the clouds and out of touch with reality. But, what is reality? Each day we navigate through an endless stream of duties all balanced by careful decision making which ultimately leads to how we spend our time. Time – the most precious commodity on the planet and yet, with the amount of time given, we oft forget to consciously enjoy the time we have. Labored by a sense of obligation, anything joyful is put on the back burner to be savored for a more appropriate…time.

The simple pleasure of playing a vinyl record

Enjoying the rich deep sound only a vinyl record can provide

Our hours, days, weeks months and years roaming around on this planet are finite. You never know when your time may be over. I have been more conscious of this lately and intentionally incorporating simple activities that bring joy into each passing day. For me, I love the taste of a Del Taco burrito, listening to the scratchy sound of a vinyl record, allowing a chocolate chip cookie to melt in my mouth, inhaling the glorious aromas of flowers, turning my head toward the falling snow or rain as it sweeps across my face, writing something knowing very few will ever read it and last but certainly not least, taking photographs. This leads me back to where we were at the beginning of this article.

The Joy of Analog Photography

For nearly two decades I have been taking photographs digitally. The digital camera is a remarkable device that can do most of the hard work for you when taking a photograph — if you want it to. With the camera’s internal mechanisms working their sorcery and keeping track of such cumbersome things as ISO, fstop, exposure and light, you can just point the device at your target and snap away. While this is very convenient and easy, something important tends to get lost when you aren’t taking the time to do all these things yourself. If you end up with a beautiful photograph, the experience seems much more rewarding when you had to take your time and ensure every little thing was just right before pressing the shutter release.

Inspired by a good friend, I opted to purchase a manual, analog camera – The Nikon FM2. Recently, he traveled from England to come visit which in itself was a blessing. After he arrived, we hit the road on a photo expedition and I had the opportunity to test it out. During our journey, I was very careful as to what shots I took because film is expensive and so is processing it. It wasn’t until recently that I finally used up the film during a trip to the botanic gardens. Very excited, I dropped off the film on a Sunday and then I got the call on Thursday that the film was ready. “Did any of the photos turn out? They did! I’ll be down soon to pick them up!”

The simple pleasure of a Nikon FM2

My Nikon FM2

Time to Pick Up the Photos

When I arrived at the camera store, so many memories came flooding back. After finishing a roll of film, you are left with all the inevitable questions. Did they turn out? Did I get the settings right? You then turn in the film and you wait. You then get the call and you arrive at the store and give them your name. The photos are fished out and the envelope is handed to you. In this instance, I opted to not have the photographs printed as this would have added to the cost. The clerk handed me an envelope with a contact sheet and a CD of all the images. I started giggling as I paid and before I could get out of the store, I opened the envelope to have a cursory look at the contact sheet. For a few moments, I was overcome by perfect happiness. All those nagging self-doubts of whether I focused or set the exposure correctly were put to rest. I could tell immediately that most of the images came out beautifully. When I got to the car I paused for a moment and closed my eyes. A newly rediscovered simple pleasure had just been realized.

Here is the last photo I took on the first roll of film on this wonderful, beautiful camera. I hope you have enjoyed this post. I welcome your comments and I encourage you to please share any and all things that bring YOU joy. Thank you for reading and many blessings.

Denver Botanic Gardens Monet Garden

Denver Botanic Gardens taken after a snow storm

More photos taken during our photo expedition:

Old, abandoned television

Old, abandoned television with bullet hole

Abandoned Drive In Theater

Abandoned Drive In Theater

Abandoned Church Bus

Abandoned Church Bus

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12 thoughts on “The Joys of Simple Pleasures

  1. Libby

    Benny, I love this post. I can taste the burrito as I read your words…unfortunately there is no Del Taco anywhere near my house…

    As you know, I too like to take pictures but do not have the skill that you do. I once had a 35mm film camera that I bought from a garage sale. I loved that camera – I think it was a Fuji – I don’t remember nor do I know what happened to that camera. But I do remember the film and the drop of the film and the fingers crossed that a few of the photos would turn out. Wow there’s almost a parallel there with the days of now vs then. Instant gratification with a digital camera or delayed gratification with film.

    Nice work my friend and I absolutely love the photos.

  2. Benny Post author

    Hi there Libby,

    Thank you so kindly for your wonderful comment. 🙂

    That is rather unfortunate there is no Del Taco. As you can tell, I am a bit of a fan.

    I think the best things in life are those that come with time. There just seems to be a bit more of an appreciation involved. I do wish we can devolve a bit and let the instant gratifying nature slowly fade away.

    By the way, I think you should get another manual camera. I can teach you anything you want to know.

    Thank you for the compliments Libby and nothing but the best always.

    Take care,

  3. Gloria

    Hi Ben,
    I’m a little behind in my reading, forgive me. Your chosen words hit the page and draw us in. Thank you for sharing your lunch with us, I found it very tasty. Still have my first Nikon , fun and at times prickly. Some of my best memories involve that camera. Keep writing my friend…good stuff.

  4. Eve

    So, Benjy, I am sitting here getting hungry, 100 miles from some similar dispenser of heavenly foods….
    I loved your post – and the photos – and so why most of them of old, decrepit, run down things?? Are you down in the dumps today?
    However – I loved the one of the Botanical Gardens, but again a question – what are the white balls strewn about??
    I guess living out here in the sticks decreases your brain capacity!

  5. Frank Montellano

    Your post reminded me of snapshots. Food, Camera, Travel, Pictures. I have lots of love for burritos too! Though Del Taco is probably not on my stop-the-world-let-me-off list of Mexican food establishments. 🙂

  6. Benny Post author

    Hi there Frank,

    Thank you so much for your comment… and also for subscribing! 🙂 Though I raved on about the deliciousness that is Del Taco, it would not be my first choice for proper Mexican food. But, for a naughty treat that exhilarates the taste buds, it does quite nicely.

  7. Benny Post author

    Hi there Eve,

    Thank you so kindly for leaving a comment. I appreciate it. 🙂 When you are in Tucson again, you should try one of these. 🙂

    For the photos, I am absolutely fascinated by abandoned things and the history that goes along with them. This drive-in is eerie in its loneliness and that to be carries with it a unique beauty. Once upon a time in the 50’s, this place was a vibrant, thriving camping destination. Then, what ends up holding true of all things, time had its way with it and it closed but for people like me, the things left behind provide an opportunity to resurrect all that once was through the power of a photograph. I have other photos as well of other abandoned places I will soon share.

    As for the white balls, I have no idea what that is about. It has to do with some sculptor’s presentation but on this day it did make for a wonderful photograph.

  8. Benny Post author

    Hi there Gloria,

    Thank you so kindly. I appreciate it. 🙂 You should share some of your old photos you took with the Nikon. 🙂 I shall keep writing and snapping. Thank you so much again for always taking the time to read.

  9. Ashley rhines

    This is such a beautiful blog…it is in the stillness we appriciate movement….and it’s in the simple sweet things in life we realize what our mission in life is and was to be…the divine wants the pleasures in life to be appriciated,and for us to appreciate and love one another,thank you for the reminder that beautiful things are sometimes the most simple ,Namaste 🙂

  10. Benny Post author

    Dear Ashley,

    I want to thank you most sincerely and humbly for this beautiful comment. It makes me so happy that you read my post and can relate to the message I am trying to share. Life is so full of simple, beautiful, wonderful things — like when someone reads your blog and leaves a comment. 🙂 🙂

    I try to post every two weeks. You can receive notifications of new posts by subscribing off to the right.

    Wishing you nothing but the best to you and yours. Namaste

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