Other Days

Some days, you just start out tired.

Some days, you make yourself go for the early morning walk, but it’s more of a trudge, and mean dogs snarl behind high fences, crows cackle cruelly, and other walkers cross the street to avoid you. Social distancing: you know, but still it feels cold and rude, because some days just dawn that way.

Some days you wish you had a nice bowl of granola for breakfast, but you just really don’t feel like making a batch. Maybe later, you think, disgruntled and weary. And you eat a leftover bagel, which you really don’t want, but it lets you wear your scarlet martyr patch– I am eating the leftovers so we don’t throw them away!—right there on your chest.

And you sigh, deep and heavy, because it’s just what you need to do this day.

Some days you feel like you might just fall down under the weight of technological expectations. Do I really need to manage this, you think bitterly, by MONDAY?

And where, you ponder bleakly, is your TECH support?

You send them another email, but you don’t expect an answer, not on a day like this day.

Not when the temperature has dropped twenty degrees in two hours and the clouds are the color of pulsing old dirty lead, and that heaviness is escaping them, falling to earth in straight chilling lines.

Some days the weather app says it probably won’t stop raining until after supper.

**************************

But then, once in a while, you surprise yourself and figure out, say, how to install Zoom. And you go to your morning appointment, and, another surprise: it’s a good rich Zoom meeting. You scribble notes in your old black-speckled composition notebook, and those rusty doors in your mind open up, and you GET it, you really do.

And one of those people at the meeting proposes an easy work around to your technology issue, and it’s simple and beautiful and doable.

You sign off from the meeting with a clear picture of what needs to be done next, and you realize that what needs to be done NEXT doesn’t have to be done NOW. And you go downstairs and eat a salad, and a leftover pork chop, and a handful of Muddy Buddies, and your husband comes in and says, “Would you like a fire? Just to take the chill off?”

And, “YES,” you say, because once in a while, a fire is the best thing, and you realize this is one of those whiles. And you take your book, and you sit by the fire, and the rain falls in vertical sheets, the wind buffets, and the words take on new meaning. The fire crackles.

You turn the pages of the book and the story makes you think and makes you realize; little walls that used to mark off half-ruined, half-hearted stereotypes crumble completely, and there are clearer, broader vistas in the horizon of your mind.

Some days open doors, and some days you are ready to walk through them.

And you close your book and you drowse by the fire…not really sleeping, just resting and gathering.

*********************************

And you remember, suddenly, a soup recipe that calls for four things you have in the refrigerator—the leftover chunky meat sauce with tomatoes, the beans, the sausage, and the spinach. Some days are soup days, and this day, with the wind barging insistently against the bay window, is surely one.

This is crazy, you think, as you wipe down the counter and lay the recipe, copied from the Internet down flat. Soup made from leftovers?

Come on.

But you heat the oil and sauté the onion and stir in the garlic; you defrost chicken broth while the red peppers flakes simmer and the tomatoes soften. You open cans and measure macaroni and stir broth and white beans into the pot.

You chop fresh spinach—locally grown, farmer’s market spinach,—into thin little ribbons, then turn them around and cut the ribbons into rectangles.

And the boyos come out; they say the mess on the stove smells GOOD, and they say, You know what? We’re going to get some crusty bread!

And they make a reservation for a curbside pick up and head off cheerfully into the rain.

Which, now you think of it, has slowed down quite a bit.

****************************

When the car pulls back into the driveway, you stir the spinach into the simmering soup pot, and you watch it wilt for a minute. Then you pour in parmesan and stir. And it really, really does smell wonderful.

And the boyos come in with a fresh loaf of tomato basil bread, and the soup is just right, a thick, hearty, peasant-y kind of a brew.

You mop the last juices from your bowl with a piece of good bread, and you agree with your husband: that was just the right soup for a day like this day.

*******************************

And by the time the dishes are done, the evening sun shines, pale and hopeful, and you lace up your sneakers. And it is cool out, but also amazing…flowering bushes and trees preening in the sun, cardinals and robins swooping and darting. Squirrels leap onto tree trunks and fat bunnies find their speed and leave arrogant kitty cats behind and bereft.

And you walk in the waning sun and breathe in deep gulps of fresh, cold air and you think that some days, you need to stop careening, all crazy and thoughtless, down some steep and nondescript hill. You need to veer off the path and sit on a rock and look to see how far you’ve come.

Some days are all about action and other days are all about perspective.

And some days, you just need to rest.

16 thoughts on “Other Days

  1. Kim Allen

    Just what I need this morning. An important reminder to respect our inner pacing. Sometimes, I planned to work in my yard. But the energy and inspiration is just not there. It’s hard to put aside plans, but when I do, and usually I have to, the switch to a soothing activity like lying on my bed to read, is just the recharge I needed. I love your soup stories , nourishment for the soul as well. Happy Mother’s Day! I hope all you love are doing well!

    1. Kim, I think we sometimes feel that, since we are at home, we need to be working all the time. We definitely need to recharge…

      I hope your weekend is wonderful!

  2. Sue

    ~too many of those ‘some days’ lately~they help you to appreciate the less frequent ‘others’…recently came home after rough few days @ work to discover homemade beef veg. soup & still-warm loaf of walnut choc.chip banana bread on my front porch.
    Your description of that cold rainfall provides a terrific visualization, Pam. Woke up to 25° & white stuff up here today~it’s all a test!!!
    Enjoy the Mother’s Day weekend & keep safe.

    1. I saw pictures of the white stuff falling, Sue…this is a pretty tough test!!! I love that someone made sure you had warm soup, and oh my—that is my favorite banana bread ever. People are good, and some people are REALLY good, aren’t they? I hope it’s a wonderful weekend for you…

  3. I read this at 4 a.m. this morning with tears streaming down my face. It gave me the opportunity to release what I’ve been holding inside. Most days are good, but the situation we find ourselves in is simply overwhelming. And, I’m just not a person who does well with doing nothing, as my husband says. Thank you, once again, for a beautiful piece that had a cathartic affect on me.

    1. Michelle, These are confusing, frightening, overwhelming days.

      Someone made the comparison between the flu epidemic in the early 1900’s and now…and I am so thankful for being able to connect like this, online. I imagine how isolated our ancestors must have felt.

      But…just because we have the Internet doesn’t mean this is NOT overwhelming. I’m awfully glad, though, that we can connect like this…

      I am honored by your words.

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