We were lucky that Easter Sunday this year was picturesque in terms of weather. For the first time since October we reached 70 degrees and had sun, something we could only fantasize about during the harshest winter in history.
I took advantage of the opportunity and spent part of the afternoon working outside before sitting in the sun on my deck, listening to the ballgame on the radio and watching the squirrels perform Cirque du Soleil moves on my half-empty feeder.
As I sat there, I remembered scraping the ice off my windshield on those subzero mornings, driving 20 mph to work on icy roads and shoveling feet of snow. At that time, all I could think about was a) where I could move and b) how much I would appreciate days like we were having that day—warm, sunny and safe—if the frozen ground ever thawed.
But then eyes closed, sprawled out in a chair like an albino lizard on a heat rock, I found my mind going right back into my routinely obsessive thoughts on work, money, food, writer’s block, exercise, what I “should” be doing that day and in life, etc.
That moment in the sun with no obligations had suddenly turned into the storm in my head that so often clouds up my mind. And in some ways I was more present in the middle of winter fantasizing about the warmer weather than I was present in that moment actually sitting in the warmer weather.
It was then I overheard the neighbor kids say, “Poke it and see if it’s dead.”
At first I thought they meant me, but since it came from the other side of the fence I assumed it was a small woodland creature. And while I’m sorry it took it’s probable demise to bring me back to the present moment, I’m kind of glad that it did.
Because I do this all the time.
Part of me gets excited for or works towards something, and then when it happens I’m already moving on, dismissing it as something to check off a list instead of enjoying that moment. I don’t feel accomplished or calm, but rather wonder, “Okay, what’s next?”
It’s easy to fall into that trap in today’s society of “more, more, more.” Sitting around reading or listening to the ballgame isn’t always as “admirable” as doing, doing, doing all the time. There’s that constant need to know just what is next.
But as one warm day in the sun reminded me, I don’t have to fall into that trap.
I can choose where to place my attention and my intention by saying “yes” to a moment and “no” to worrying about that next thing all the time. If my mind would get out of my way, maybe I could relax and remember this more.
After all, the temps are back in the 40s with rain this week—Mother Nature is a cruel, cruel shrew at times—which proves how fast moments can pass.
Just ask the critter cadaver next door.
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