Breathless Wonder…

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I’ve been waiting weeks for today. The first day of spring. Not calendar spring, but that undeniable mist of green covering every bush, ready to burst forth with tender leaves, and daffodils nodding their pretty yellow heads that, yes, it’s here. My daffodils are trusty and stood up in defiance of an early spring snowfall, whereas my magnolia tree? She waited and now those creamy white blooms reach out heavenward and I know it. I’m in love with the world again.

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How can anyone feel ill on such a beautiful day, I once asked myself, about a hundred years ago. Because I was. I thought twenty year olds stayed healthy until old age dawned. You know, like, around age forty at least. I smile at my younger self. I can laugh at her too. Especially on days when happiness is the creek running fast, gurgling songs that make you pay attention to her. And did I mention the bluebirds I’ve seen in my yard?

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How can you not feel gloriously happy when bluebirds show up at your bird feeder? The gentle spring rains are adding their music to my day, while I sit here in the quiet and listen to the pattering on the roof, snug underneath, thick socks still keeping toes cozy. Don’t days like this feel wonderful? Happiness, like love, is so much easier when hope blooms. And it is. Some of you have already thrown open your windows to catch the warm whispers of spring breezes, while others wait patiently for old man winter to finally move out for good.

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Happiness looks you in the mirror in the mornings, because that sun is starting to shine so brightly, that even wrinkles look good. Yes, I am that enthralled by spring. Aren’t we all lured outdoors to bear witness to the dawn, and the gold-hued world she offers on sun drenched mornings? I’m called out in the evenings, the colors feel more muted and soothing, and I love holding tea in my hands, while drinking in the purples, chasing the pinks, that follow the orange in the sky.

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Even if you’re sick, in body or heart, take time to be outside in the freshness of this spring. You need time out for you, and ten minutes of sitting on your front step is pouring life and love back into your body. Share the moment with others and add to your happiness. I like to pick out the evening star and remember the night my father taught me the basic constellations. If you can get away from city lights, look into the night sky and be filled with stars and planets.

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On a late spring evening when I lived farther south, I stood under the whisperings of a willow tree with several friends, ready to head home. My best friend’s brother reached out to my thirteen year old self, to catch my attention, and I’ll always remember him saying with a measure of wonder in his voice,”Your skin feels so soft.” It caught me off guard. Was that a good thing? Soft skin? Because a thirteen year old girl back then didn’t know if she was pretty or pretty enough. At least, I didn’t. I wanted dark hair and dark skin, but had been handed very light hair with almost blonde skin, so I didn’t know if what I saw looking at me in the mirror was okay. When the guy I secretly liked said that to me, I felt beautiful and light, as though I had drunk a glass of wine.

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Why do I bring that up? Because most of us are lucky enough to have had springs of discovery, where we found our footing in a precarious world. We only have a handful of springs before responsibility calls our name and we enter the race. Busyness claims us, one by one. But don’t let the cares of this world keep you from feeling love, wonder, happiness and hope. We were made for these days. May wide-eyed wonder fill your days (and evenings) this week.

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Until next time…

Resolutely resolutionless…

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Here we are with another year spent and a new one arriving in hours. There are things I want to do; accomplishments awaiting my toil, but I don’t think I’m going to make any resolutions this year. Last year brought a bucketful of trouble sprinkled with a few blessings bestowed. Sometimes getting through the year with your humor intact and new ways to observe this world is enough.

It’s frigid out here, and that’s affecting me too. Just driving to the cold grocery store and laying in a store of provisions feels like a monumental achievement. I’m an indoors girl once it’s below freezing, so our plans for celebrating a new year by staying in the city and running all over town having bunches of fun, didn’t sound like it would be all that wonderful. I cancelled the hotel room and decided it’s cabin time.

 

I said goodbye to my Christmassy home (though these flowers felt like a whiff of January), and we packed sweats and hoodies and thick socks to ring in 2018. Do you take Christmas down the day after? I just can’t. My mom tells me stories about long ago Christmases not beginning until December 24th, with the tree and caroling and Christmas cookies and feasting continuing until Epiphany, on January 6th. I’m trying to keep it going, but our world drags us into the Christmas season by Halloween. So I’m happy to be ensconced at the cabin for a bit with no twinkle lights or nutcrackers. Just a lot of warm blankets. And my winter potpourri.

 

The potpourri sits in the strangest vintage bowl I’ve ever seen. Is it meant only for pretzels? Am I using it incorrectly? I bring out my winter finds; the ones I reserve for the dark days of January. Do you? Doesn’t it feel like a slice of heaven to be home, in a warm corner, with the scent of pine or piñon, book in hand, with maybe a chocolate truffle or three, ready to while away the evening?

 

Cats really have perfected the art of relaxing wherever they are. My Willie makes himself at home in the warmest room, while I linger near the fire. The cabin sat at a firm 55 degrees when we walked in today. It’s toasty warm now though. Just perfect. Quiet.

The quiet season. Hush. Sure, there are parties aplenty with spirits and noise and sequins and kissing at midnight, but this year, after the year we had, we packed up some steaks, potatoes and a cake (hey, it’s always a good time for a cake, and it will be my breakfast tomorrow morning along with my hot coffee). It feels right this year. Just us. And the cats, of course. Piles of magazines at my feet. Contentment. Even though I threw my back out yesterday and then hurt myself sweeping the cabin today. Even then…

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We choose our moods. Kind of. So my back hurts. I’ll be okay in a few days I hope. In the meantime, I wander around the cabin taking some pictures. The beauty of being out here in the middle of nowhere is amazing. My husband is tramping around outside, checking on things. I linger close to the house. I reflect on how I’ve grown this year, as I remember the substantial losses, and the wonderfully magical gains. The quiet is lovely. No Times Square this year. Just a bunch of hills and a smattering of snow.

 

 

What will 2018 bring to our doorstep? How do we move forward and step into the new?

I’m resolutely against resolutions this year. A certain number of times around the sun and I realize maybe January isn’t the best time to begin training for the marathon, or planting a garden. Maybe January calls for quiet. Reverence. Introspection.

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Maybe a bunch of books, thick socks and an iced tea in silence is just what we need. No running away from yourself. No staying so busy you miss out on you. By the way, I drink iced tea in sub-zero temps. Crazy, I know. But back to resolutions. I make mine in September when the kids return to their schools. Right now? I’m just trying to keep myself away from that glorious cake waiting on the counter.

Aren’t we meant to drink soups and eat casseroles now? To huddle together underneath quilts piled high? To read the not classic literature but the kind that holds you mesmerized long into the night?

 

Let’s plunge into January with hopes for a happy year. And a nice, long January thaw.

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Be happy, sweet friend. Welcome 2018 with open hands…