Easy Does It
As the year 2021 starts off snowy and cold and our greatest defenses are to put on a snuggly polar bear hooded snowsuit to dive deep into the stillness of the nearest snow pile, like my grandson, Nathan, I believe we continue to yearn for the silence and calm (Not Nathan!) that deep winter in the Northeast brings to us New Englanders. I often call it the ‘necessary’ calm or the calm ‘before the summer storm’ of visitors who arrive from away as early as April.
But, for now, while so much of life as we know it did in fact slow down and scale back for much of 2020 – out of necessity – emotionally, socially, and mentally it continues to be hard work, heavy, and pretty harried from day to day. Watching my grandson play joyfully in the snow crunchy mounds in his backyard, I notice each time that he plays hard, is emotionally exhausted after building a snowman or snow fort with his sister, but at the same time, he’s cultivating an inner sense of calm. He’s quieted any worries, instead taking on an inviting sense of ease and simplicity into his life as a 2 and a half-year-old. A most welcome and definitely timely respite from the day to day chatter in his external world.
Watching Nathan play I often think that maybe it’s a good time to adjust my expectations. A good time to give myself and others permission to lower the bar just a wee bit, to allow for more space for boredom, and ease, and quiet, and stillness. To practice becoming comfortable in that big open space we call our own backyard.
To become confident in the knowledge that in order to make something cherished (a day, an event, reading a book) and memorable, we need not pack it full of endless lists of ‘to do’. Instead, to savor the sights, and sounds, and smells, and flavors of a moment lived and experienced well are most often our most cherished.
I imagine that one day I will ask my grandson what he remembers most about his cherished moments playing in a snowy backyard as a toddler and I think I will hear, “Cocoa bombs, Mimi. Let’s make cocoa bombs!”
Ahhh. My favorite winter beverage.