February 12: I stepped into the street this morning before dawn and was enveloped in quiet. A soft gentle caressing quiet. It lasted just a few seconds. And then I became sharply aware of the sounds: the distant shushing of cars, Four Mile Run’s soft laughter, a story shared among neighbors, birds here and there beginning to awaken. Even the hiss and whistle of the train’s brakes. I’ll stop there, and thank my ears for connecting me to the world.
February 13: I was huddled against the cold and rain as I passed a coffee shop. At the window sat a woman reading. A cup of tea warmed her palms and on the table before her sat, entrancingly, a small white tea pot sending waves of steam into the air. Fifteen hours later, I still think of it.
February 14: It lay in a puddle, in the rain. Its veins and tips and sprawled body faced skyward. I stepped over the leaf on the sidewalk, and then stepped back to gaze at it. Would I have done so if the leaf were green and the day sunny? No. There was something about its bravery there. Its late winter selfhood, there in the puddle with its sisters long gone. It seemed to say, “What next? I’m ready.”
February 15: I’m laid up with a twisted ankle. No early rising, no exercise class, no frantic errands. My day consists of lying back on my couch, feet propped up (aka,”keeping the ankle elevated”) and playing with my computer. Sure, I plunge my foot in ice water periodically, but heck, it’s a reasonable trade for a delectably indolent day.
February 16: The golf ball lodged against my ankle has yielded to anti-inflammatory combinations of Advil, elevation and lots and lots of ice. I keep atrophy at bay by wandering into the kitchen long enough to cook and clean a bit. But mostly I’ve hoisted the flag announcing another Carol Ann Day Off. Reading the full Sunday New York Times? Check. Complex artisan board game with Jeremiah and Kasia? Check. Wrapping myself in a blanket of kindness — the generous, risk-taking, transformative kind that fills me with hope and love? Check. Yes, I watched a few episodes of Queer Eye (For the Straight Guy). I love how the Fab Five help an ordinary Southern man dress, groom and cook better, with spectacular new decor. But I love best how everybody — the Southern guy, the Fab Five and even me — gradually close the distance to “the other” until all of us are crying a bit at how lovely love feels.
February 17: As we watched the day’s waning light creep toward 6 pm, Nate noted the pleasure he gets from incremental advances. Each day at this time of year, he says, he’s surprised and delighted anew by the extra minutes of daylight; he doesn’t so much look forward to the next increment as he marvels at how meaningfully different today’s light is from yesterday’s. But, he cautioned, in less than a month, Daylight Savings Time will drop an anvil of light on us. On the first day of extended light, he says he’s exhilarated. But then he immediately takes the abundance for granted. Where, he laments, is the drip, drip, drip of tiny delights, in just the right size to savor?
February 18: Sometimes I become deeply, momentarily aware of the people around me. Up there in a plane, around the meeting table, waiting to cross a street. I ask for and offer blessings. I wonder if, in that moment, I see them as God does.
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