1. Fresh flowers in the bathroom, my latest guilty pleasure. I don’t care if they don’t match the color palette, although I confess I prefer all white blooms. This is a week for daffodils, however.
2. Seeing the sun rise on our morning walks. It’s different every time.
3. Jena Schwartz, her writing and the space she makes for other writers. I’ve been taking a two-week writing class with her that ends today. The way it works is that Jena sends a prompt, we set a timer for 10 minutes and write in response. Here’s something I wrote for a prompt about walking.
We usually walk about five miles in the morning, every morning almost no matter what. We walk out our front door, through our neighborhood for a mile until we get to the park. We cross the first bridge over the river and go by another park on the right and a natural area on the left. We go past the trailer park and the house with the four little Chihuahuas and the chickens to get to another park. Sometimes we walk all the way to the back and go in the little dog park. After that, we go around the pond with the goldfish and across to yet another natural area, and finally cross the river again and hit the main road where this past year they finally put in a sidewalk. By the time we hit the roundabout by the edge of our neighborhood, the school buses are just heading out.
Sometimes the walks suck. It’s too early and I’m tired. Most of the year, it’s still dark out when we leave, and sometimes still even when we get back. The weather is sometimes crappy – cold, snowing or raining, wet. The trails are muddy or covered in packed icy snow. We constantly have to keep an eye out for cats, other dogs (especially the off-lead “friendly” ones), deer, squirrels, rabbits, skunks, geese, sometimes horses and those two or three beavers that swim in the river and have a big den in the back ponds. We also have to reroute for bikes, UPS or FedEx or garbage trucks, and anyone on a skateboard or rollerblades, especially if they have a dog with them. Ringo Blue, my two year old Blue Heeler, is constantly pulling at his leash and trying to eat things he shouldn’t – various kinds of poop and sick, rotten food, grass, sticks, and dead animal bits.
Sometimes the walks are magic. We see a huge owl sitting in a tree or the Osprey pair out hunting or baby foxes. Most days we see the sunrise, and except for winter we hear the birds sing. We see a cast of regulars, people whose names we don’t know so we’ve given nicknames – Old Man Colorado, Fancy Pants, O.J., Forrest and Jenny, Husky Man. Sometimes Ringo Blue finds a tennis ball or an empty water bottle and carries it, so happy he looks almost like he’s dancing. Things that are stuck shift while we are walking, things that are tense can relax. We are tethered and moving together and it’s precious.
4. In related news, walking with the dogs. The morning walk is my favorite, but the afternoon one is good too. (Yes, they get two — 4-5 miles in the morning, and another 2.5 in the afternoon, which is why I was so tired the week Eric was in Chicago). It’s a responsibility I’m happy to have.
5. Remodeled beach house. The place we always stay (this is our sixth time) got a surprise remodel. It’s so pretty. It used to have dark carpet and cabinets, gold floors and countertops in the kitchen, older appliances, and strawberry wallpaper, (I’m gonna miss that last thing a little). Now it reminds me of our bathroom remodel, so bright and beachy. I can’t wait to get there this summer.
Bonus joy: Root beer (I’m kind of obsessed lately), a haircut that was long overdue, enough money to pay all the bills (even the unexpected ones), writing, napping, good TV, chocolate, finally cleaning off part of my desk, a funny video sent in the middle of the night from my nieces, texting with my brother while Eric was gone, a riot of bird song in the morning.