Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quiet Day

I'm in the fog of a cold or virus and feeling pretty miserable. I'd like to read but find it hard to focus so I've spent most of the day browsing the Internet and am currently eating a bowl of homemade yogurt which feels soothing on my throat.

I did take a short walk earlier. Or should I say, a short waddle? That's how it feels these days. I'm sure I was quite a sight, crammed into my coat, breathing through my mouth with a bright red nose slathered in Vaseline!
When my beloved dog Kenyon was alive, I enjoyed taking him for his evening walk around the neighborhood. Right after he died back in March, I went for a walk and cried the entire time and since then I can count on one hand the times I've walked around the neighborhood.

I've lived in my little home just over seven years now. About six years ago I read a book by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and he wrote that one should live in a place at least five years, and work at a job for at least five years, too. I thought at the time, "No way! There's no way I want to be here in five years!" And then I got cranky. "And who is he to tell us how long we should live in one place anyway, what did he know?"
Apparently, quite a bit.
I found over time that as I walked with Kenyon each evening, the little world of this modest neighborhood opened up to me. Every day there was something new to see. I enjoyed watching the change of seasons play out in flower gardens. I loved some lawn ornaments and loathed others. I took a whole series of photos of the homes here. I followed the arc of light through the varying seasons and weather.
I gained a feeling of connection to place I hadn't felt in a long time, and I found that Kenyon worked as a bridge between me and neighbors so that it became more unusual to not have a friendly exchange with someone who admired my Sheltie or who wanted to visit with me.
I heard a lot of gossip, learned who the troublemakers are, did my part to fight some crime, yelled at people who drove too fast, and every year enjoyed the Christmas displays, always being sure to take a long walk on Christmas Eve.

I've lost a lot of that sense of connection in the past several months but now that I'm on modified, I am trying to take relatively short walks outside and I feel that connection returning. I'll admit, winter is not the nicest time to see this place, I have to look a little more carefully but I find things, like the red berries on holly bushes, a colorful flag fluttering on a lamppost, as well as seeing who has done what to their home and which homes are now for sale.

There is the old saying, "Don't sweat the small stuff." It is in the small stuff that we find whole worlds that when put together with other small things create whole people, whole neighborhoods and whole countries. Maybe we don't need to sweat them, but I think it's good to pay attention to them.

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