Kickin’ Back

Snow day, January 2012.

Snow day, January 2012.

Excuse me while I take some time off from my blog.  Even though it hasn’t snowed much here this winter, this past January has been the coldest on record in twenty years.  I like to lay low in the winter, taking my time with everything … napping, cooking and enjoying soups, stews and braises.  There hasn’t been time for any of that this past month with the renovations we’ve undergone, so I’m hearby declaring the next week my hibernation week.  It can snow or do whatever it wants.  I’m staying put. I’ll cook a pot roast, and put away all the kitchen things that have been packed away in boxes over the past month. I can’t wait to see all my cookbooks lined up on the shelves that we had especially built just for them.  I’m also rearranging furniture all over the house and setting myself up for the newness of spring’s arrival next month.

I’ll be back next week with something useful or knowledgable to tell you about … or not.  In the meantime go sledding, bake cookies, read a good book, or clean out a closet. Let’s simply the enjoy the next week as it is … rain, sleet, snow, or sun.  It’s good for our health to just slow down and breathe deeply.

Living Simply

I thought yesterday was October first and here I am preparing for Thanksgiving.  Why do I feel like I’m living in a time capsule that moves forward at a gazillion miles an hour?

As a little kid, I felt time moved too slowly.  Adolescence was the worst.  All I wanted was to be grown up and out from under the boundaries my parents set up for me.  During my twenties it sped up a bit. But being the caretaker of two little people, I still felt pretty limited.  Once those little ones were in school, the pace picked up from that of a turtle to that of a hungry dog anxious to be fed.  Once Mark and Lisa left home there was no stopping the hours from rushing to the finish line.  These days I get up in the morning and before I know it, it’s time for bed.  There are never enough hours in the day to do all of the things I put on my list of daily intentions. It can be so very frustrating.

I want things to slow down a bit now, thank you very much and I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. Most everyone I know complains about there being too much to do in too little time.  While we whine about our computers being too slow, we wish for the time to take a nap, soak in a bathtub filled with bubbles, or simply lounge about, dreaming of what a real vacation might look like.

Today is my seventieth birthday.  It’s once more time for me to stop my craziness and think about what is most important to me.  Is it more pressing for me to spend my time and money accumulating more stuff and being seen at every community event? Or is it more important for me to slow down and smell the proverbial roses?  What about seeing friends for lunch or going for long walks in the woods or through streets crunchy with falling leaves? Do I need to go see every movie that is now playing at Charlottesville’s new fourteen screen movie complex this very week? Or might I stay at home, sitting in front of a fire, with a good book, snuggled up with my dog, Sam?

This past year, I seem to have opted for the long walks and the good book with sweet Sam at my feet.  And even though my pace is slowing naturally as I age, it’s not all that easy to stay in the slow lane.  If I’m running late for an appointment, I find myself swearing at the numerous red lights and the heavy traffic that makes me even later.  And if it’s too cold or too hot, I can easily find myself wishing that the season would move on and bring me more comfortable weather.  What I too often forget about, is living every moment as it arises.

I’m not one who is fond of this holiday time of year.  I do love being with my family and eating turkey with dressing and pumpkin pie, but I’m not happy with the consumerism that I sometimes feel wants to devour me.  Now Black Friday is set to begin Thanksgiving evening.  Will we now call it Black Thanksgiving? Those who have jobs in the big box stores that are so popular because of their low prices, are in many cases forced to work on one of the few days of the year that they have off to spend with their families.  A recent news report pointed out two women somewhere in California, already on line at their local Best Buy, so that they won’t miss out on the latest whatevers that they absolutely must have.

I could easily sit here and wish this season away, preferring it were March, and being able to work in my garden.  But where would that get me?  I’d have to skip tonight’s dinner at one of my favorite dining spots, and then hearing our local  symphony orchestra perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A major Opus 92.  I’d miss being with my grandkid’s on Christmas day and most likely miss out on a snow storm or two that could transform my world into a fantasy land dressed in white.

It’s true that there may also be some very painful and unhappy days that I might be able to avoid by wishing life away. But if I didn’t enter the darkness from time to time, I’d never appreciate the light and the joy that surrounds me.

Today, I’m reminding myself once again, that rushing my way through life is not worth it. I don’t want to miss the smell of wood smoke in the air, and early daffodils poking their frilly, yellow heads out in February.  Once Thanksgiving is over, I’ll sit down and listen to Handel’s Messiah, while sipping a steamy mug of mulled cider as I write down all of the things I am grateful for this past year.

I’m convinced that I need to live more simply, being present in every moment.  Time here is too short. It should not take cancer or any other dreaded disease to slow me down, forcing me to finally begin appreciating the littlest things that I too frequently overlook each and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving Y’ All!
I hope you enjoy every precious moment.