January 8: Last Saturday was exceptionally mild, and Nate proposed that we tear vines off the towering trees in our back yard. In shirtsleeves and gloves, Nate, Jeremiah and I hacked, sawed and ripped bags of woody growth thicker than baseball bats. Then a wicked cold knocked me out. The good news three days later? Antihistamines whipped my runny nose and the poison ivy now tattooing my arms. One medicine: two cures!
January 9: So this head cold has revealed treasures. First, I discovered I actually like sleeping on towering pillows. Second, I’m finally using the embroidered handkerchiefs my Mom passed down to me. And, best of all, I’ve begun to experience a bit of the tranquility I understand meditation induces: my monkey brain, cold-fogged now, is moving at one-quarter speed and simply can’t leap from branch to branch. Nice. How can I keep the tranquility without all the sneezing?
January 10: I treated myself to a rare facial today. My skin drank in the lotion. My eyes surrendered to soothing darkness. Smooth creams, nubbly terrycloth, a velvet brush layering what felt like morning-cool butter. At last, the aesthetician placed her hands on my temples, as though to offer healing. I accepted.
January 11: Strings of white lights dangled from ductwork. Fourteen loopy swags illuminated the narrow room, and the broad storefront windows reflected them back. Under this magical lighting, Kevin and I and fifty other people cheered the folk tunes of some local guys who have been making music together every Friday night for decades. They did it for the fun of it, and now they’re sharing with the rest of us. Who’s sharing their art with you?
January 12: During today’s meet, my niece’s swim team sat in the stands, nibbled snacks, checked phones and wandered around. What, then, do college swimmers do when they have a break in the action? They swim!
By the way, I need to send a huge shout-out to my niece Kate Crilly, a senior at Gettysburg College and one of her conference’s premier swimmers. Four events today, four wins. And her name appears five times on the banner celebrating pool records. Go, girl.
January 13: Nate was out of town for the weekend and swung by the house to say hello. “I had expected you to rip off the band-aid off,” he said to me. Then he pointed to the Christmas tree. And the crèche with lights, the mantle with lights, even the illuminated Christmas village, which we turned on just for him. Nate smiled. “I’ll stay the night, to enjoy it all one more time.”
January 14: Nate watched the College Football National Championship last night. He chose the ESPN channel presenting four coaches “watching the film” in real time and rewinding the plays over and over with vivid commentary. Nate laughed.“College football is just a game of chess played by grown men using 21-year old boys to outwit other 21-year old boys.” Oversimplified perhaps, but I think there’s an amusing grain of truth there.
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