Saturday, January 09, 2010


Today is hopefully the last day of a three week long stretch of below freezing temperatures. I'm suffering from a bad case of cabin fever, find myself spending too much time wandering aimlessly, be it surfing the internet, or puttering around the house. Even when I do bundle up to go outside, there's almost nothing to do (there's not enough to shovel--here salt is your friend) and it's not safe to go anywhere. Ordinarily in the Ozarks, the snow is loose and powdery, and donning boots and walking through it is a sense-filled delight of bracing cold, shushing foot steps, surrounded by hills cloaked in linen white. But the stuff on the ground at present is simply treacherous, packed down, icy and unforgiving of gracelessness (*sigh* read: me). Having done the slippery sliding, tail-bone cracking tumbles a couple of times over the years, I think I'll just sit tight and wait for the promised melt off.

A couple of years ago, I made a promise to myself to appreciate NOW. Making the most of the season I'm in, of the day I'm living in, who I am with right then and there. And to focus on what was important to me and not let anyone else talk me out it. I made this decision just before I quit work because it occurred to me that I was spending an unhealthy amount of time living for the next big thing/event/day. And in doing so I was rushing through the present without noticing the smaller joys. Atom-like, those smaller joys contain powerful easy-to-miss details (kids spying on the universe through their telescope, Gary telling a new joke as he sets down my freshly filled coffee cup, dogs with graying muzzles bringing me sticks to throw, seedlings breaking communion with the soil, my mother's quiet comments over the phone about this or that hurting, my sister feeling her second baby moving for the first time). Those details add up to quality and quality, in my estimation, give value and substance to time. Something which I often feel slipping through my fingers as I head into my mid forties.

It does not mean I'm not making plans. I have things I'm looking forward to and I have spent a fair amount of time trying to decide what to do with myself over the next few years--specifically as the younger boys begin to attend high school and the older ones go off to live their own lives. I have decided that I would like to be a school (vocational) counselor and that will require more college, which I'm really good with. I can't imagine not going back, I just couldn't (for a while) pinpoint exactly why. It is the first decision I've made concerning my future since leaving work and it feels more natural than anything else I've considered. But this plan is more of a humming sound in the background of my very present and accounted for life and I am contented to formulate the wheres and hows over the next few months.

However I am not as contented to wait for spring. While it is only January, I am already anxious for tillers, shovels, hoes, dirt beneath my finger nails. I want plant the promised fruit trees and the roses. I want to build another rock wall and I am so ready to set up bee hives (We will order them out of the next check--I am so excited) and get about the business of farming on a very minute, if invisible level. In short--I want to play outside (one woman's work is another woman's play). But I suppose I'd better wrap my mind around the concept of waiting a bit longer. January and February are snowy months in the Ozarks. It could get worse before it gets better out there.

So today I will write a bit, fold that pile of clean laundry on the couch, help Sam learn how to use some modeling clay he found in the craft basket, study which long distance course of study I can access from my home computer, and look forward to a week of sunshine and running creeks. And try really hard to appreciate NOW.


jeanie said...

What a great idea - honouring the now

We too have cabin fever - as it rained here for over a week, and we aren't talking gently rain but intermittent drenchings and constant threats of the next big fall - and the sun coming out yesterday has meant the world is a far brighter prospect!!

Mary O. Paddock said...

Thanks for stopping in Jeanie. I finally got outside yesterday and today. It's amazing how much difference a little sun will make.