From Where I Sit

By Pat Spilseth, Columnist

Snowflakes are gently falling outside my office windows. It’s a quiet, peaceful day, not a sound can be heard, other than the furnace clicking on and off and a clock ticking off the minutes. Drifting snow is piling up on lawn chairs on the deck, reminding me of white feathers cushioning the seat of the chairs, inviting but for the cold temperatures.

Fog is settling over the lake, and a white coat of snow laces the black tree branches. Hoarfrost is so lovely. No squirrels or bunnies are scurrying about on the lawn; no snowmobilers or cross country skiers and their prancing dogs are visible. Nothing moves but the snowflakes and a few birds hungrily attacking the sunflower seeds in the feeder outside my windows.

This is my kind of day, perfect for reading and sipping coffee. It’s a soup day: wouldn’t a fresh pot of wild rice soup or tomato basil soup taste good? Baking would be great, but I’m trying to cut back on my baking. Perhaps a few chocolate chips or oatmeal date cookies would curb my sugar craving as well as taste so good. Several friends and neighbors welcome my lemon poppyseed breads and cookie treats. Few gals bake any more, but who can resist homemade goodies?

Slow down. Check out what surrounds you. Surroundings make such a difference in our moods and outlooks. If you can’t find any sunshine, consider buying a “happy light.” It’s so easy to get lethargic and bored on these cold, gray winter days when darkness descends so early. There’s not much on TV, though I still love watching Tom Selleck in Blue Bloods, so books are my answer to these short evenings. I also recommend the new series of Alaska Daily about a reporter in Alaska. Dark evenings are more pleasant when I’m cuddling in bed under down comforters with a good book.

Vicks and BenGay are with me most nights to soothe any cold coming on. That little blue and green bottle of soothing mentholated salve aids a good night’s sleep. At early morning light, I get up and go outside, bundled up, to get the newspaper and come inside to make a cup or two of coffee. Morning rituals are my routine.   

Frigid, dark winter days often contributes to the “blues.” In Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town,  a young mother Emily, who has recently died in childbirth, longs to revisit one ordinary, “unimportant” day in her life. When she gets her wish, she realizes how much we, the living, take for granted. Emily says, “I didn’t realize all that was going on and we never noticed…clocks ticking…Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths…and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”

Many of us seek everyday epiphanies–occasions when we can experience the beauty and wonder of the ordinary. We can’t afford to throw away one “unimportant” day by not noticing the wonder of it all. Discover and appreciate those authentic moments of happiness available to all of us every day.

Life’s simple and uncomplicated here in my warm home on the frozen lake. Gazing outside through frosty windows, checking the birds, squirrels and any wayward raccoons or neighbor dogs is my routine each and every day. Though it can be freezing and snowy, I enjoy these ordinary days of silent beauty.

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