"I associated the term Epicurean with a refinement of taste and an ability to savor. As I ruminated on the proposition of simple living, it seemed to me that if in our time we could learn to savor the goodness of little, everyday things, we could get more out of less and abandon our ruinous gluttony. Furthermore, in my own experiments in simple living, I hoped to relinquish my gluttony for punishment — my puritanism and apocalyptism — in favor of the sensuous. The Roman poet Lucretius, literature's foremost Epicurean, said of the senses. 'These we trust, first, last and always.' " So writes Stephanie Mills who has been engaged in the ecology movement for over 30 years and in 1996 was named by Utne Reader as one of the world's leading visionaries. In this substantive memoir, she muses on the rewards of a simple life attuned to the natural world and alive to the reports of her senses.
Mills putters around in her garden and reaps the rewards of growing some of her own food. She rides her bike for transportation and compares it favorably to car travel where one cannot experience "an orgy of the senses." Again and again, the author comes down to the bedrock of wonder as one of the most appealing dimensions of a life of epicurean simplicity. Whereas the Puritan rejoiced in austerity and renunciation, Mills opts for a delight in the simple and often unnoticed pleasures of daily existence: "Wonder is our erotic affiliation with life. If we develop this, enjoy it, and follow its promptings, our wants will be fewer and our needs plainer."