I did stop to smell the roses today in my uncle and aunt's garden. There are roses just outside the French doors to the library, which has become our office for the time that we're holed up here writing, so I have no excuse for not taking a sniff more often. And the roses are smelling especially fragrant at the moment. There's been rain this week and the garden is in full bloom despite it being the beginning of autumn (or fall, for my North American friends). But as I inhaled the scent, I did think 'Damn, I don't do this enough!' And I was reminded of a friend I used to work with who called me a robot and who frequently told me I needed to stop and smell the roses more often. So as I was looking for a photo today - no time for reminiscing, I simply had to identify a building in a city in Italy we wrote about which I'd become confused about (and that's what you get for travelling as much as we do) - I spotted this photo I'd taken in Bologna last summer. And while I've looked at the photo several times - mainly so I could describe the fountain for a book I was writing - I'd never really stopped to look at the photo properly. Because I had never noticed the kids sitting on the steps of the fountain before. All I had seen was the photo. Which led me to think about how many times I've passed fountains on our travels, especially in Europe (we spend a lot of time in Europe), and noticed locals and travellers alike sitting on the steps of fountains, eating their lunch, drinking whatever, reading books, or just fooling around, and how many times I've been rushing past going somewhere, doing something (always working), and thinking how nice it would be to be able to stop and sit on the steps of a fountain sometime... to be on holidays, or just to be taking life more slowly. Just to be living the kind of life that allows one to stop and sit on the steps of a fountain. Because it's not that I don't have the opportunities. I probably see more fountains in piazzas than most people. I definitely see more fountains than roses when I travel. So 'sitting on the steps of a fountain' is going to be my 'stopping to smell the roses'. My way of measuring the pace of my life, of keeping my work-life balance in check. Because now... well, it's a little out of whack. So, how often do you take time out to sit on the steps of a fountain when you travel?