Day by Day

One month ago, I was shedding a tear and saying farewell to Christmas. December was in the rear-view mirror and it left me wondering how I’d muster the drive to make it through the majority of 2012 until the next time I’d be able to decorate for the holidays.

I wrote earlier this month about little milestones that I like to identify throughout the year. They help me speed ahead to the day after Thanksgiving when I can bust out the holiday decor again.

Interestingly, I wrote just last night about slowing down and pressing the pause button, so as not to become so wrapped up with getting to the next best moment that you miss other equally valuable moments (if you allow them to be) in the process.

So which is it going to be? Seems so hard to decide sometimes.

I’d like to credit the New York weather and landscape, currently devoid of freezing temperatures and snow, for helping me decide.

It was a brilliant morning, one flooded with sunlight and dressed up with a vibrant backdrop of blue skies which would normally plague me with a headache. Before flinging the curtains open, I popped a few ibuprofen, bonded with a cup of coffee, then proceeded to tackle the day. Step one was seeing what the outside world had in store.

Pale, bare trees greeted me first, and I couldn’t help but notice that all was quiet. The walking path below my window was empty, tree branches wished in vain for birds to perch, a distant gazebo stood waiting for a visitor which likely wouldn’t linger for long on such a brisk morning and a partially obscured street on a hill across the way told the story of a road — literally — less traveled. 

About forty feet from my room, a large, dignified rock caught my eye. The dark form emerged from the grass around it, and immediately spoke of centuries past, harsh winters and a climate far different than the one I call home. It sparkled in the morning light, and I was intrigued by it.

But my primping routine called. Time to ready myself for the day.

As we left the hotel, more of that same, sparkly, massive rock guided us to the parking lot. I touched it and was struck by its honesty and fortitude, while at the same time humbled by its delicate shimmer and kind warmth. If it was a person, it would’ve been a gentleman who values home and family, integrity and leading by example — all with a kind twinkle in his eye.

I Googled the rock in the area a while ago and decided that it must be a type called schist. I could be wrong, but it fits the bill nicely. I read more, and came to find out that much of Manhattan was built upon it (“Manhattan schist”).

And in the context of pressing pause or fast-forwarding, the more I think about the rock, the more it reminds me to net out on the side of pressing pause.

If the rock could speak, I suspect it would tell us of how it endures cold winter after cold winter, ultimately welcoming those chilly rains which melt the snow around it. I can hear it talking about heated summers where it wished for a reprieve that would take days, if not weeks, to come. I wonder if it ever questioned its strength.

But I suspect it would also say that enduring such extremes meant finding simple joys in the infrequent rays of sunshine that would peek through an otherwise overcast January sky. I imagine it would also remind itself that no matter how much heat it absorbed during sweltering summers, to revel in it while it lasted before fall brought cooler temperatures and frost. And then I get the strong feeling that while seasons may test it, it never once doubted its strength.

I was tempted earlier to write something like, “Only 10 more months before I can decorate for Christmas.” But now, looking at the rock and realizing how it patiently, dutifully waits out the seasons, sparkling when it can in as much light as it can get, or occasionally providing a resting place for weary passersby, I see the value in focusing now — more than ever — on the pause button.

Yes, tonight I bid a fond farewell to the month which brought much healing to the Christmas meniscus, which yielded 30 consecutive days of blogging and a fondness for stopping to smell the roses. I am thankful for the rock which quietly told its stories to me, and which will greet me again in the morning.

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