☕️ The Quotidian

A Saturday Caesura

The penultimate load of laundry is flop-thumping in the dryer. My husband is using my hairdryer to blast away the moisture that somehow crept inside the truck’s left headlight. Beans for chili are in the pressure cooker; hamburger is cooked and on standby at the back of the stove. Two days ago it was -30C and the wind sculpted mounds of ditch-snow into elegant waves and flying buttresses. Today it is 5C and the wind is whipping up some wave action on a lake in the driveway and infusing breath into the tarp that covers the woodpile — it inhales and exhales like the slumbering mass of a forest-green monster. A raven hoover-maneuvers through the swaying trees across the road, changes its mind about landing, banks sharply north and soars up up away. I saw the bald eagle again the other day, wing-winging and gliding towards somewhere with characteristic casual determination and cloaked disinterest. I wonder why he decided to winter here — not uncommon, but not normal, either. I like seeing him. I always look for the white bookends and wide wing span that distinguish him from the more common raven. I need to refill the birdfeeder. Not for the ravens, of course, but the chickadees redpolls nuthatches blue jays downy woodpeckers pine grosbeaks. They’ve peppered the snow with cast-off seed shells. I wonder how they stay unfrozen when cold keeps everything unthawed. A magpie is squawking about something; its annoyance annoys everyone else. Inside, the dryer sings its I’m-done-ditty. The pressure cooker beeps perfunctorily. Done. The truck now has its eyeball reinstalled, all weepiness wiped away. I need to fold socks, shirts, underwear, pants, towels. Then I’ll throw some burger and spices and onion and tomato into the beans and let it simmer long into chili. Two overripe bananas suggest muffin making.

Each day is a quotidian of ordinary moments and observations threaded together into a chain of memories, experiences, and routines that form the chords of character, which eventually twine together into a stout and sturdy rope of life. Today, I think life is less about making each moment count and more about giving each moment the weight it is due. ▫️

☕️Anticipation and Delight

A Saturday Caesura

I spent the month of April anticipating spring, watching with delight as snow white gave way to earthy browns, and most recently, to hints of green.  And now spring is here.  The anticipation is over.  Life continues.  And isn’t that how it goes? We look forward to something – graduation, career, marriage, children, travel – and when the waited-for-thing arrives, we celebrate and then pack up the party hats and slip into something more comfortable and ordinary and continue with life, and sometimes in that ordinary continuing we stop finding delight.  

At some point everything we wished for in spring seems humdrum, run-of-the-mill, so what, or whatever. We anticipate the fresh new leaves of spring but complain about raking them in the fall.  We delight in lush green lawns but are annoyed at having to mow them each week. 

Occasionally we’ll do or see something that sparkles with delight – an evening BBQ on the deck, a drive in the countryside, a hike in the mountains – but mostly our days are smeared with the nondescript colours of ordinary.  So we make sparkle our quest but too often lose the ability to discern between what is real and meant for delight and what is illusionary and results in despair.

We live as if wonder and delight cannot be found in the mundane and exist only in the extra-ordinary, the superfluous, the majestic, the miraculous.  But what if wonder and delight are woven into the fabric of creation?  What if we took our eyes off the Big Shiny Things and found delight in something as ordinary as a cloudless sunrise, the gentle touch of a spouse, a moment of laughter with a friend, a muskrat swimming in the ditch. 

We live as if anticipation is not a sustainable emotion, its life-span restricted to that liminal space before the big events, significant changes, momentous moments.  But what if we stopped reserving our anticipation for the Big & Memorable and lived each day as if it is in itself an anticipation, a continual expectation of yet another day and another and another.

What if the reality that life does continue is extraordinary and delightful and wondrous and anything but ordinary.

🌿 All the Joyful Things

When it’s threatening snow in April

almost May

and you need to find all the

joyful things

like daffodil sprouts defying

the cold

and rotten trees that crashed

now burning

and crackling in the wood stove

and supper

of leftover chicken was actually

quite tasty

and there are friends to meet for


and your mind races and leaps with

joyful things

that would make a list too long for

this poem

so you just breathe thank you and go

to bed.

#30daysofpoetry #day29

10. A Day’s Observations

Puddles large enough for waves and shorelines

Mud deep enough for squishing and sticking

Slush messy enough to splash and to soak

Snowflakes brave enough to keep falling and falling

Tree buds determined enough to poke and to push

Pussy willows demure enough for unassuming adornment and allure

Sun warm enough to foster hope and joy.

Whether welcomed or unwanted,
My day was filled with all things ordinary and extraordinary.

Pondering the Ordinary

Like a perpetual conveyor belt, several months have daily slipped from future, through present, and into the fading twilight of past.  Much has happened in my particular life story during that time, and yet nothing has happened: variations of ordinary disguised in busyness; routine with slight hiccoughs of irregularity; mundane moments made meaningful simply because they exist in the larger context of life.  

These are the places where I live.  And mostly I’m okay with that.  Sometimes I look at other people’s lives and accomplishments and adventures and blessings and I feel extraordinarily ordinary.  Sometimes.  But mostly ordinary suits me quite fine.  

Some of the most profound things can be found in the ordinary.  It’s fun to look for them, to marvel at them, to ponder them.  Here’s a few I found hidden in the crooks and crannies of the past few months:

– every day little birds land and takeoff from my bird feeder at intervals that would put London-Heathrow to shame — and all without any need for air traffic controllers, ground crew or de-icing procedures.  

– millions of virtually weightless and nearly microscopic snowflakes somehow become incredibly weighty when it’s time to shovel them.

– an extra 4 1/2 minutes of light each day somehow seems far more significant than the mere seconds it represents

– a moment of laughter with my husband can encapsulate years of camaraderie

– freshly washed sheets always feel cozy, a cup of hot tea always brings refreshment, and pussy willows are always delightful

– I love you.  Thank you.  I’m sorry.  Simple, ordinary, and profoundly impactful.  I try to use the first two regularly.  I’ve had to use the last one too often…

– frozen, flowing, or falling, water intrigues me in its multifaceted and prolific presence.  It trickles and roars, pelts and caresses, refreshes and destroys…  characteristics akin to spoken words. Interesting.

– clouds add character and texture to the plain blue canvas of prairie sky.  Every day a unique painting is stretched between horizon’s frame.  Sometimes I forget to notice.

– a sincere and loving hug is never ordinary.  Sometimes I forget that I’m not the only one who needs one.

So many truths, delights, mysteries, comforts, and complexities are woven into the tapestry of an ordinary day of an ordinary life.