It is because mother nature is confused here in the Midwest that I, too, am feeling a little confused. Today, the temperature was an average of 50 degrees. Granted, it was a muddy, overcast, gray kind of 50 degrees - but in January - it's just baffling for me. I'm sure that tomorrow or maybe the day after, Indiana wintertime will return to normal and we'll be greeted with frozen-solid windshields and slippery-cold-clay grounds in the mornings. That is why I had to take full advantage of the interestingly mild day that was today.
D and I got to take a hike together this afternoon and in the silence, listened as a gaggle of geese foraged around the pond. We listened to two playful piney squirrels explore the trees as a pileated woodpecker scavenged through the woods. There was no breeze, no howling children or disruptive sounds. Even the chainsaw being operated by a faceless neighbor across the pond was a welcome, productive sort of noise that fit in amongst all of the enormous trees.
I got to take some lovely photos of my darling husband between the trees, in his big green boots and adorable baseball hat. Holding his warm coffee cup. Flanked by an old oak and a sugar maple. Momentarily at ease and feeling the peace that comes when the cool air hits your face (or beard).
I got to breathe in the air, the smell of the wet earth and leaves mixing just perfectly with the delicate hint of pine if a breeze should move through the trees just so.
I got to hold D's hand as he helped me down an especially slippery hill.
I got to sip on a very strong coffee with some almond milk.
I got to laugh, listen to my husband tell me about his week, about hopes for our future, about how tremendously different our lives are from what they used to be.
I had an opportunity to think about our small, simple life here on Moraine. I wondered: are we making a difference in the world at all outside of our own? I thought about the ripple effect of living. Of how dropping a small stone into a giant pond, the ripples will travel all the way to the edges of the pond if the water is still enough. In the stillness of the trees, I felt a little like a pebble.
I have come to understand that certain moments like these shape my life by a measure that is not consistent with their brevity and immediate imprint. These are not big events, the births, the deaths, the unions and separations, which - for all their significance - are the commonplace joys and tragedies of humanity.
Rather, they are the almost imperceptible splashes in the pool of my existence, like when I glance up at D perched at the top of a ravine like a king on the back of some great beast, and I marvel at what it means to be human, to be the species that - for better or worse - has invented all this stuff, this amazing, crazy magical stuff.
I mean, to watch one man who can climb aboard a 2,000 pound piece of machinery at 7:30 in the morning and have a 200 acre plot of land prepared to be burned to the ground safely the next day by 3:30 p.m.? And to know that he is just a gentle man, really, the heart of a kitten and the work ethic of an entire anthill? It's almost as if I can feel the small pebble dropping through my surface.
It's almost as if I am not just the pool, but also the shore and I can see those little waves rushing toward me.
A brief update before I join my warm-blooded-heat-radiating husband and attention-starved Big brother in bed for a movie: little brother has had an exceptionally stubborn cough for the last 2 weeks or so, but only at night, and no other symptoms, but he had us so concerned that we took him to a doctor today. The doctor believed it was simply post-nasal drip and suggested we do a few things at home to keep him comfortable and to give it time. No antibiotics, which was a welcome change to most doctor visits lately. He is sleeping peacefully in his crib right now and hasn't coughed once since falling asleep.
Big brother played basketball for hours today. He would take a break, come into the kitchen all flushed-cheeks and chilly fingertips to tell me how happy he was to be outdoors. He went to a church activity for two hours Friday night and had a really good time. Being ten is a blast. Just ask
Sometimes our satellite television service provider will surprise us with a free weekend of HBO as a trick to get us to order it, and this is that weekend! Needless to say, we won't be wearing pants until Monday morning.
"Just know you're not alone. 'Cause I'm gonna make this place your home."