Oak LeavesIt’s cold today.  Colder than yesterday, but the skies are clear, so no chance of snow.  I’m bundled up with layers.  Warm shearling lined boots, toasty jacket with cozy pockets to put my hands in.  No hat because I don’t like them.  I don’t like my ears covered, even though they get cold that way.  I like to be able to hear.  Not that there’s much to hear this morning.  The hawk must be standing guard above me, for the birds are silent.

So many times on the walk today I completely lost track of where I was, but I wasn’t necessarily lost in thought, well, except for the maiden walk, but that’s not unusual.  Especially when the intent is to blog afterwards.  That first trip through the spirals (my three by three, my husband called it this morning), the brain is busy, thinking thoughts, trying to solve problems, chattering away like a magpie.  She’s chipper, that brain of mine.  All go, go, go, and do, do, do.  I’m walking quickly because it’s cold.  And then I’m not.  I’m caught by a green leaf on dark soil.  I’m walking quickly again, and now I’m caught by the light on the oak leaves.  So many times today I stop, pull out my camera (even though my fingers are freezing!) to take a picture of some magical thing.

The water in the bird bath froze last night, so there are all sorts of interesting things to look at in there.  I took at least a dozen pictures of the ice.  None of them captured the magic I was feeling and seeing.  I took 44 pictures while out on the triple spirals this morning.  The only one that captures my attention now, when I’m back here inside, near the fire and with my fingers slowly warming back up, is the one I’ve included.  The oak leaves in the mother spiral.  I see these every time I walk.  There are always oak leaves on the ground.  Sometimes with acorns or acorn caps, sometimes green, usually brown, but always there.  They are ordinary in my life, and yet, I’m drawn to them every time I walk.  I’m not sure why.

I was thinking about this recently.  While I’m excited and compelled by the extraordinary – I want, desperately, some things simply because they’re rare, unusual – but I always come home to the ordinary.  The dog, the triple spiral, the cats, the husband, the children, the dishes.  I love the chase to find and acquire the unusual, but once I’ve gotten it, it usually sits in a cupboard.  I have a set of beautiful, purple, square glass dessert plates from some earlier time.  I lusted after them, visiting them in the antique store multiple times a week before I finally bought them.  Now they sit tucked away, safe, in the cabinet with the other dishes.  Occasionally, I take them out and look at them.  They’re still quite beautiful.  But I don’t long for them the way I did when they belonged to someone else.

What is that?  That longing for something?  And what does it mean?  It’s these sorts of questions that occupy my mind these days.  Or maybe just this day.  What makes me think that salvation (in the form of a set of dishes, or a new book, or a new mentor, or any other, greener side of the fence sort of thing) will be found outside myself?  Life is an inside job.  I occasionally forget that.  I am grateful that I have ways to remind myself again.  The triple spirals is one predictable way of remembering.  I have family and friends who help with that as well.

I find it curious that what’s left of today’s walk is the quiet.  I love how each walk is so very, very different, and yet so much the same.