Small Wonders

It is amazing how our bodies betray us. And in that betrayal we find joy in the small wonders of living.

Several years ago I had a slip-and-fall accident that left me partially disabled. During the recovery period I would sit for hours and watch the small wildlife outside my patio. Over time I watched the squirrels as they fearlessly climbed the trees and jumped from one to another. I learned their aerial trails from one tree to another. The squirrels ruled the grassy area. The chipmunks were relegated to the flower beds. The furthest they would venture out into the yard was the wooden borders holding in the flowers. Until one day when I saw a chipmunk with an identity crisis. He tried to climb the trees like the squirrels did. He actually got about five feet up the tree…the he froze.

During this time I saw my first cardinal and heard my first woodpecker. I watched the lake freeze and then thaw and the idiots who drove their trucks onto the lake before it was strong enough to hold the weight. I still remember the day when five trucks parked in the same area on the ice and all five broke through. They would have been safer if they would have spread out on the ice. There seemed to be a lack of thought processes.

For the last few weeks I have been rediscovering the joys of food. During the last six months or so I have been grabbing a carton of yogurt for lunch or a frozen dinner at night. Busy-ness has interfered with living. My friend and I have had few nights to gather at the multitude of restaurants in the Cities. They are as numerous and varied as those in New York or San Francisco. Emily’s has fantastic Middle Eastern food. It is the only place I have been in a long time that has the raw meat delicacy I learned to enjoy as a child in California. Falafal King makes the best falafal and gyros I have ever eaten. Not to mention their desserts. And the cities abounds with steak houses. Then there is Tavern on Grand that has the best walleye in town and is where presidents and leaders visiting from foreign countries have dined. It is one of the only places I will eat fish. I did not grow up enjoying fish, but this is one place where I go to relish this state meal.

Now I can hardly eat. Only three months ago my friends and I gorged at Don Pablo’s on chili rellenos and enchiladas. For Christmas my friend made and brought me home made tamales. I could eat only one and a teaspoon full of the incredibly good rice her mother made. The Chinese dinner lasts for three days. And the brownie pie my friend picked up for me that serves 6 will make a dozen servings for me now. Each of these provide me with pleasure that I had taken for granted before.

When our bodies betray us we learn to relish those things we are losing. And we also learn to step back and enjoy those things we lose in the busy-ness of living. It has been years since I broke out the paints. It is time, this New Year’s Day, for me to return to those activities that provide pleasure. It is time to sit back and read the books I have had piling up on my shelves. It is time to venture out onto the frozen patio and breathe in the crisp air. It is time to paint the mountains of the West I miss here in the Midwest.

For every one of us there are activities that feed our soul. For some there are children to raise and enjoy. For others it is the grandchildren we need to spend time with and pass on the stories that embarrass their parents. Some need to give to others and some of us need to learn to be given to. My friend loves to cross stitch. She is talented, but work and caring for home have caused her to put this aside. Another friend is a genius at crochet, but she has not made an afghan in years because she “doesn’t have the time.” Another interest of mine is genealogy. I have put it off for years because it consumes so much time. Today is the time to also start that. My great grandfather is waiting for me to discover his story.

Don’t wait for your body to betray you to force you to take time to enjoy those activities that feed your soul. It is time to do them today…even if it is enjoying an ice cream cone in the middle of winter.

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