10 February 2010


Yesterday I pulled into the driveway earlier than usual. I had a profound yearning for shedding the overcoat and galoshes. I walked in the house, slung my outerwear onto the hallway hook and kicked off the heavy boots. I felt a stronger-than-normal urge to get into the comfort of warm cotton so I pulled on a way-oversized long sleeve t-shirt (hand-me-down from Matt), pajama pants and my fuzzy slippers. I shuffled into the kitchen, made myself a cup of peppermint tea and readied myself to sit down in front of the television. I wish it weren't true, but I do love to waste time with my favorite cooks and their ridiculous catch-phrases, to watch them cook food I can't get my hands on and scramble to describe to the audience that this food really IS that good. Entertainment at its best. I walked right past the couch, though (surprised even myself), and went in my bedroom. I closed the door, lit my lavender-rosemary candle, cued the quiet tunes, and crawled under the covers.

Next to my bed are a few reading options. One is a really tattered Bible (not tattered in the good "read-it-all-the-time" way, more like an "accidentally-slid-to-the-floor-of-my-pick-up-after-church" way). One is a Country Living (British Edition) magazine with snowdrop blossoms and fresh greens and earthy tones on the cover -- just what I need to rest my eyes on in this dreary cold. Another item, on the opposite end of the spectrum from the former in many respects, is a novel called Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin. It weighs in at somewhere around 740 pages, takes place in a world of blinding snow and spins a yarn about thieves, underground caves made of gold and wild horses. After reading the first nine pages, I was undone by Helprin's lyrical prose.

None of these, however, did I have the wherewithal to pick up and read. Instead, I stared for the longest time -- longer than any sane human has the right or sense to -- at the shadows of the tree branches waltzing slowly across my bedroom curtain. The fabric swayed softly, confused by the dry heat that blew from the grate below and the cold air that snuck in slowly from the crack in a windowpane. I was keenly aware that this is a time of day that I don't usually have the pleasure of being tucked into my snug, lovely bed. The light is golden and blurred, so soothing after a drippy, arctic day with what seemed like unending classes of squeaky-shod kids.

I lay there, staring, until the shadow of the neighbor's house crept slowly up and obscured the twiggy forms. Occasionally sipping the warm, minty tonic and humming from time to time I thought, idle is a good way to be.