I woke up this morning feeling….off. Not terrible. But not good either. Definitely not good enough to feel positive about the trajectory of the day. After a weekend of great conversation, meeting new babies, cozy fires and time away from a work computer, a day when work was back on the agenda seemed like a practical joke – the mean kind.
How could it be time to spend another day sitting in front of the computer, making phone calls and asking questions? And how could the forecast call for above average temperatures – in December? For someone who enjoys activities that require snow and ice, above average temperatures are not cause for celebration.
I was unsettled, and it seemed like interacting with anything even slightly undesirable would cause me to slip into an all day melancholy. As I was resigning myself to a day spent tapping a keyboard, I saw the sun through the window and noticed the sparkle of the snow against the skeleton trees of the lake’s shoreline. But the potentially rising temperature and the schedule of my afternoon overshadowed the beauty that I usually see in those things. I felt myself sinking into a haze of wanting something different. I felt like someone who is unsatisfied with daily life and someone who dreads the work week.
So I went outside. Instead of letting myself simmer in that haze of wanting, I put on my ski boots and mentally prepared myself for a slow sloppy loop around the perimeter of the lake through mushy snow. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I know enough about health and wellness to understand that getting some fresh air and exercise can boost one’s mood – and enough about motivation to know that you don’t have to feel motivated to do something. Sometimes you just have to do it. I went out the backdoor, down the still frosty steps to the snow crusted lake, stepped into my skis and pushed off.
And then I noticed something.
The snow on the lake wasn’t actually mushy. The glide from the crusty snow that was left on the ice was actually pretty good. 95% better than anticipated. Worth more than one lap around, even. Good enough. I stopped at the midpoint, looked up and realized that all of the trees were blindingly white in their frosty jackets that were made possible by the cold nights and warmer days of the past week. Stunning enough to make me pause and just look. Good enough.
It was good enough to snap me out of my melancholy stupor and remind me of all the things that are worth celebrating during the days that I spend here on this earth, despite work computers, endless phone calls and forecasts that aren’t ideal. There will surely be days in the future when I feel off balance or in want of something different. But there will also surely be little things – like unexpectedly good enough skiing conditions and the beauty of hoarfrost – that punctuate even the dreariest of days with one more little detail that makes life worth celebrating.
It’s nice to remember why I’ve chosen to live where I do and why I like this time of year as the daylight wanes, even when it’s warmer than I might prefer. It’s nice to remember that I don’t have to let waking up on the wrong side of the bed and a task list that I’m not looking forward to color my whole day black. And it’s nice to notice the beauty that pierces the ordinary days just because of making one little choice over another.