I think I chose the right time to move back home to Missouri ~ cold winters seem to be a thing of the past. This year’s winter doesn’t even deserve to be called a winter. It certainly doesn’t compare to the winters of my childhood when we had numerous snow days home from school, and my mom and I would walk the mile to Sloan’s store at Swiss (the precursor to the Swiss Meat & Sausage Co) where I always wanted, of all things on a cold day, a Fudgsicle. It’s early January, and we are having spring weather with a high of 62 degrees today – this is either global warming at its finest, or a karmic force rewarding me for enduring the twenty-three snowy, gloomy winters I spent in Alaska!
My daily walk today turned into a stroll. Normally I like to get my heartbeat up, and feel a little winded by the time I’m done, but today I just wanted to savor the warm sun and spend as much time outside as I could – maybe to avoid things I need to do and address. My mind is full of thoughts and concerns as we go into the New Year – I’ve finished my MBA degree and now it’s time to find new employment – a task that seems both exciting and intimidating at the same time. My husband, Mick, and I just purchased a foreclosed historic property in Hermann – an old brick building, circa 1850 – that we plan to renovate for additional visitor lodging along with our Grapevine Guest Suite cottage. This, too, seems to be a challenging, as well as motivating, prospect. Our plate is quite full of unrealized goals as we go into 2012, and when I wake in the mornings, I’m not sure whether to jump out of bed with enthusiasm or bury my head under the covers!
Recently I read a book titled Rules of Civility in which a single young woman named Katey, in the late 1930s, finds herself struggling at times to find her way in the world. Katey relies on the only words of wisdom her father ever provided to her – regardless of how daunting the circumstances were for him, he knew that as long as when he woke each morning and he still looked forward to his first cup of coffee, then he could make it through any day. “When a person loses the ability to take pleasure in the mundane, she has probably put herself in unnecessary danger” ~ Amor Towles.
That line in the book resonated with me to the point that I had to write it down and keep it as a reminder. For Katey, the main character, the pleasure came from reading Dickens. For myself, at least today, my pleasure came from an ordinary walk on an uncommonly beautiful winter day. Our neighbor’s dog, Sophie, joined me which forced me to slow down even more as she sniffed out her own mundane pleasures along the road.
Taking my time, and letting my mind drift away from some of my self-imposed pressures actually energized me. It was anything but a waste of time. As long as something as simple as a walk along a country road, watching a dog chase a squirrel up a tree, continues to bring me pleasure, well, then I think I’m ready to tackle whatever the year brings…Happy New Year!