Tuesday, January 19, 2016


The top of her purple hat peeks just above the snowball she is trying to push. I watch her try with all her might, first fists, then turn and lean her back into the the thing. It is too big dear, but she doesn't stop. She runs for help, her sister appears and then the neighbor boys, together now. The mound takes on more snow and heaves a foot or two. It has become a neighborhood effort, this giant snow thing, sky darkens, they lose their hats, porch lights turn on, they heave, again and again, without why or what for? Never pausing to calculate the distance or find a lever long enough but just keep on, moving the world, down the sidewalk.

So much of life is just getting on, again, the small thing, again and again. Repetition repetition.

The girls have been out in the snow daily, five times a day. They finish their math and race out the door, I drag them back in for piano, out again. It is 7:00 am and Josie just came to me in her pajamas, please can we go outside? Have they noticed it freezing out there? 8 o'clock. Wait til 8.

I hold my mug at the window and watch them, thinking about these habits of an ordinary life. They gather themselves, become eventually more than they are. My grandmother lives on in my kitchen not for the way she baked bread but because she baked bread ten thousand times, because she lived a life of love and flour, water, salt.

Bread is a good habit, it makes a good life. Books are a good habit. Helping, listening. Beauty is necessary, and patience, prayer. I would like to make a habit of quiet, a habit of hugging, a habit of noticing the good, however thorny it may be.

Today is an ordinary Tuesday in January. We will practice piano, repeat repeat, recite our history facts and math, again, again again. We will read a little, form letters, sip tea. We will take a walk.

Outside the kids are packing snowballs, light and round, full of force.

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