Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Comfort Zone

The other day, a friend of mine wrote on Facebook that she was anxious for springtime to arrive because she misses sitting on her deck in the mornings having her coffee. Then I was watching a sitcom rerun in which a little boy could not go to sleep without his favorite blanket and his recording of soothing sounds. These things got me thinking about how we all have our little rituals that we find comforting.

I have a few. After I get dressed in the morning, my one cat likes to sit with me for a while, and I pet her and rub her belly. It's actually more her ritual, as she will meow at me as if to remind me it is our time to sit together.

I have also made it a daily habit to eat lunch at my computer. It is just something that I have to do, even though I sometimes worry I will spill pop all over my keyboard. Thank goodness I have a backup keyboard.

I also regularly feed the outdoor critters. Even in frigid winter weather, I try to get out to the tree to fill the bird feeder as often as I can during the week. It is something I enjoy doing. I like seeing the birds come flying around the feeder, even before I have gotten back inside the house. It is like my little appointment with nature.

There are those parts of our daily routine, no matter how mundane, that can be comforting, help break up stress, and make us content by helping us to maintain a balance in life between the must-do and the want-to-do. The day just doesn't feel right without them, and in fact, not doing them can lead to a bad day.

Sometimes we just need our favorite blanket to get to sleep.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Beautiful Day

It is a beautiful winter day today. I am not a fan of the cold, but the sky is so blue, and the sun has been shining so brightly all day. Despite the chill in the air, when I went outside to fill the bird feeder and scatter some nuts for the squirrels, I couldn't resist staying outside for a while to take some photos. It is the kind of day that makes the winter blues go away - at least for a while. Today reminds me of what a miracle nature is and how much I love it.

There are lots of things I love about nature, in every season. How do I love thee, nature? Let me count (some of) the ways:

I love your towering trees, their limbs outstretched toward the sky.

I love the way your clean white snow glistens in the sunlight (and moonlight).

I love how the squirrels come right up to me and sit up and beg for the walnuts they know I will give them. (They know I cannot resist their cuteness.)

I love your explosion of color in autumn, and the crunch of your fallen leaves under my feet.

I love the lush green the grass becomes in spring.

I love your scents - the smell before the rain, the fragrance of your flowers.

I love the music you play - birds chirping, the rushing and bubbling of the water in a creek, the sound of waves lapping a sandy beach.

It's amazing how nature has the power to cheer you up with all of its beautiful sights and sounds. A day like today lifts my spirits, and is a welcome respite from the dreariness that can be so prevalent this time of year. It is a good day.