Compulsory Cocooning

Well, Bogey navigated us to the mountains yesterday, and despite his insistence on looking behind or beside us, we made it.

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And now comes the snow, with no estimates even suggested for those of us at ‘higher elevations’.  Clearly this ain’t no gamblin’ town.

It’s a cozy Thanksgiving this year – one beloved son and daughter-in-law, Andy, four Sirs (one grand-dog included at the Round Table) and yours truly.  One cherished son in Toronto; the other adored one, with his in-laws.  My sister is up in NY; Andy’s family in CA.  I’ve never prepared Thanksgiving for four.  And since I’m not sure how successful I will be at re-calculating measurements, there will be plenty of leftovers.  It feels a little strange – and yet it’s ok – for everyone is where they want/need to be.  And they’re fine.  Let’s move on.

Something about the silence that accompanies snow forces one to pause and listen.  It is right to pay attention at times like these.  When the world continually reminds us why we’re angry, impotent, righteously indignant and not righteous enough, the snow blinds me to all of this vitriol.  It provides a day of muted noise –  a compulsory moment to feel something other than head-shaking disillusion.

Gratitude and giving thanks – it’s as white and clean and pure as snow falling.  Despite some chronic pain stuff (yawn), which has compromised aspects of my life lately, I am choosing this moment of grace.  To be thankful.  Thankful for family and friends who are generous with their love and laughter; meager with their criticisms and callousness.  Thankful that I’m going to be a grandma in February and hopeful that I may be a vital part of this little girl’s life.  Thankful for new friends who expand my view of the road ahead, and old friends who have rejoined my travels and have myopic vision that forgives much of history.  Thankful for giggles that cause stomach aches, tears that cleanse and puppy kisses.  Thankful for books that transport and bring me home again.    Thankful for music that accompanies all my moments.  Thankful for featherbeds and drool-y naps.  Thankful for t-shirts warm from the dryer.  Thankful for those spaces in between – when my breathing slows and I bow my head.  ‘Please.  Wow. Thanks.’ – to paraphrase Annie Lamott.  That is the prayer; the alpha and the omega.  We are blessed.  We love and we are loved.  We have limitless capacity for a limited time.  Gotta get your grateful on.  And I do.  Before I get to the chestnuts that will be roasting and sweet potatoes baking and turkey brining…before the smells begin to infuse the house with hints of tomorrow’s yumminess.  Get to that place where the greatest tradition is observed – where you go to whisper ‘thank you’.

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Before The Sun Rises

Up on the mountain, the wind is announcing the day before the sun even has a chance to make its presence known.  Sitting here with the fire dancing, lap blanket tucked under my feet, I’d be remiss if I didn’t pause for one moment and just snuggle into the moment.  This is not the beginning of an extraordinary day – which is what makes it so remarkable.  At some point, I’ll make it into town, run some errands, shiver my way back home and read.  Drink some tea.  Knit a bit.  Listen to music.  Listen to the wind.  Pick up a message here and there about the deliciousness of being in the moment.  Marvel at how flexible the trees are as the bend to the will of nature without snapping in two.

We won’t be getting up here too often this winter and I will miss the opportunity to just hop in the car and be here.  Though the house still has that new house smell, it already has the feeling of being lived-in, of knowing its role as an escape and a womb, protecting and holding me safe.  And though I have always thought of myself as one who would be happiest by the water, I’ve already learned that the mountains echo a welcome that is equally compelling.  Maybe it’s just the peace that comes from being placed in the middle of all that is so much bigger than me,  A way to remember that we are a part of something so much bigger, a stage whisper demanding that we pay attention.  Our days, these accumulations of seconds strung together and passing with such speed they are easily disregarded.  I don’t want to miss a thing, primarily because I fear I miss so much.

So before the morning breaks, I watch and listen and breathe in – the feeling of warmth, the smell of hot coffee, the music of the wind.  The next moments will come, for they are more determined than anything else I’ve ever known.  And I can’t stop them.  But I can – and I will – dissolve into right now.

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