The new year in my mind is always clear blue and white, fresh, and full of possibility. This image plus my page-a-day calendar reminding me that "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it," and I've decided to find small pleasures in 2018 to chase out the overwhelming noise of 2017. It's not deep stuff, this quote from my "What We Learn from Cats" calendar, but it offers a recipe to escape a funk and seems fitting for the new year. Therefore, when faced with a dearth of positive, I'm now determined to recognize the sunny side wherever I can.
On to find it!
Pleasure #1: Analog life.
My husband and I spent the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve on the Delaware coast, in a frigid and nearly-empty tourist town. We had miles of vacant beach just outside our door, shared only with local residents and their exuberant dogs seasonally freed from the no-dogs-on-the-beach ordinance.
|Dewey Beach, DE in December|
|On the beach in my eskimokini.|
|Sand pipers like school kids, dashing in small groups in and out of the frothy surf.|
|The boardwalk won't look like this in six months.|
|Sunset over Rehoboth Bay.|
|...and what the sunset does to the sea oats.|
|A thinking man's horizon.|
During this no-cats-yet time, we're also taking advantage of being able to look at each other and say, "Let's just grab a bag and explore somewhere." This long MLK, Jr. holiday weekend felt like the perfect time to do just that so we headed west into hills of north-central Virginia. There's something so calming about an expanse of empty landscape, whether it's a beach dotted only with sand pipers darting in and out of the sea foam, or farm fields, their crops shaved close to hunker down for winter. I appreciate the understated beauty of winter's muted colors, the tinkling of icicles along moving water, and the satisfactory crunch of walking over icy crisp fallen leaves. It's far more subtle than the sensational spring or flamboyant fall - their colors screaming for our attention.
|Frozen above, rushing beneath.|
|With the backdrop so neutral, the few bright colors shine.|
|Strong sunshine leaves strong shadows in the tiny town of Washington, VA.|
|Farm house with Shenandoah National Park as it's backdrop.|
|Almost tall enough to remind us of the Romanian wooden churches.|
|Weathered barn in Brandy Station, VA|
I'm drawn to timeless landscapes, easy to find in this region's rural colonial towns. No billboards to sell me things, nothing digital to attract and then distract - just glimpses of times when life seemed a lot less noisy. I'm certain that these days we could all use a break from the screaming. Therefore you'll find us pulling off the road to simply survey the horizon, watching the light change or laughing at the squirrels chasing each other barber-pole style around the trees.
That's my 90% recipe for reacting to life these days. Give it a try.