An example of harmless pleasure is the pleasure that comes from the beauties of wilderness, where you can find the seclusion that fosters concentration. At present we tend to take for granted the idea that wilderness is beautiful, and forget that only recently has human culture come to view wilderness in a positive light. For millennia, ever since the beginnings of agriculture, wilderness was something endured under duress and that had to be tamed. Only with the industrial revolution have people in general come to regard wilderness as a place to be enjoyed. But the Pali Canon was far ahead of its time in this regard. It contains the earliest extant poetry extolling the beauties of wild nature, treating those beauties both as inherently pleasant and as the ideal setting for finding the even higher pleasures of a well-concentrated mind. The ability to appreciate these pleasures, and to realize that this appreciation was a healthy aid on the path, required sharp discernment.
This reflection by Ajahn Geoff is from the book, Beyond All Directions, pp. 78-79.