Yesterday was a stunning respite from winter. The sky was a subtle cobalt blue, unmarred by even the slightest suggestion of a cloud. The temperature, already reasonable at dawn, climbed into the sixties, bringing with it a warmth that has been absent for months.
I spent the day chasing the sun. I elected to skip my usual yoga class as the thought of two hours contained in a windowless room on such a day seemed like villainy. Instead, after completing my indoor tasks early (which included opening all the windows:) ), I started the day with a run. Okay, actually two runs. I first took Tiger for a hilly three mile loop around the neighborhood. Mr. Pitiful struggles when the mercury climbs above sixty; he was trailing behind on the inclines and kept insisting on watering bushes even once his well had run dry. As a result of his slow pace and frequent pit stops, I ended the run ready for more. I dropped him off at the house and hopped in the car to head down the road to a trail along the river.
The trails were bustling, filled with children taking their Christmas bikes and trikes out for a ride, young couples and runners gearing up for the spring racing season. Even as I cursed the crowds as I had weave in and out and even stop at times, I really do love to see so many people out and exercising and enjoying the day and each other. It is a beautiful thing. I just wish they understood that slower traffic to the right applies to the trails as well…
Another four miles and I was spent (I so do not miss those marathon training distances!!!). I fixed a snack upon arriving home and set myself up on the back deck with a book. As the sun moved across the sky, I moved along with it, eventually ending up in a folding camp chair in the driveway. I am solar powered and I was determined to recharge as much as possible while I had the opportunity. The lows today are back in the 20s and the rain has moved in again, bringing with it the threat of severe weather and flooding.
Yesterday was a gift, a brief exhale of winter that allowed the warm breath of spring to fill tight chests. It was an intermission between inhospitable acts when the layers that guard against the cold could be thrown off without fear.
The winters of our lives often have respites as well. Look for them. Create them. And, when they are there, embrace them. Spend the moments chasing the sun. Allow yourself to open the windows, to feel the warmth, to shed your guards. Breathe. It’s okay to feel okay even when your world is falling apart around you. Give yourself permission to laugh. To be present in the lull between the storms. Try not to think about what the forecast predicts for tomorrow or how frigid it was yesterday. That doesn’t matter today.
A respite doesn’t need to be complicated. It doesn’t need to fill an entire day. My dad and I created our first respite from the storm that came with text message that ended my world mere days later:
“Two for Borat, please,” my dad said to the teen in the movie theater window as he handed over his card.
“Sir, I have to inform you that the movie is especially graphic and may be offensive to some viewers. There are no refunds,” the ticket-taker recited automatically.
My dad and I looked at each other, the first true laughs of the week expelled in staccato bursts.
“Welcome to the South,” I said to him with a grin. Besides, nothing on that movie screen could be more offensive than my reality.
Undeterred by the warning, we proceeded to the theater where we shared more laughs and a much needed respite from the reality outside those doors.
Those two hours were a gift. They provided a much needed break from the horror in my life. It was a chance to breathe. To feel normal. To refuel. To live when I otherwise felt as if I were dying.
After my hours in the sun yesterday, another week filled with cold rain and flooding doesn’t seem so daunting. After all, I still carry a bit of yesterday’s warmth with me:)