March 17, 2017
It is early spring, and it’s raining ferociously.
Beyond the raindrops dotting my window the crown of a cotton wood slaps in the wind. I feel crampy but I am happy to have a warm spot to curl up with this pain and a glowing light to read by. My toes are toasty under the duvet. From my cushy perch I watch the daytime storm. The raindrops cling to the window pane, then glide down whenever new ones bump them off. The window is pushed up a little and through the opening I hear the giant tree swoosh and the occasional rain spatter. I can smell the clarity and freshness the wet brings to the air outside.
But mainly I’m just happy. Happy that I can have this quiet day at home, that I don’t have to go anywhere, and that I’ve already done the one thing I had to do today. It’s a blessing to live in this moment, to simply be, to listen to the tree and the wind and to have this wonderful practice of writing about it. I don’t need plans or entertainment or really anybody else. I just need peace and not a long to-do list. In fact, I’ve realized that the less I have to do, the happier I am. The more I focus on the little I do have to do, on what matters most to me, the more fulfilled and joyous I am.
Later I kindle the cold season’s last fire with two logs that really are not sufficient for a decent blaze. I unravel a crochet project that needs redoing and sip a little bottle of Guinness. There is still the wet street’s swoosh outside the open window and the rustle of the cotton woods. There is the smoky smell of the burning wood. Once in a while a cloud of smoke wafts into the room as the storm hollers in the chimney. The laptop stays off. As I scribble my thoughts into my trusted notebook, they become tangible like this moment. I am savoring the quiet of my boys’ absence, all the more precious because I know tomorrow night adolescent footsteps will thud down the hall again, and I will be hollering, “Have you finished your homework?” But for tonight there is peace. I can listen to the crackle of the fire and the tinkle of the rain and the wind rattling the windows.
Am I sure this is not autumn, not October? Am I sure the world outside is greening, blossoming and warming? Because this, the smoke of the fire and the howl of the wind and the swoosh of the trees sounds very much like winter is the works.
Annette Gendler is the author of “Jumping Over Shadows,” the memoir of a German-Jewish love that overcame the burdens of the past. Visit her at: www.annettegendler.com