Friday, October 23, 2020

Five on Friday: How to Make Winter Not Totally Suck/Early Autumn Gratitude

I’ve been noticing my kitchen could use a good scrub lately.


“Didn’t I just do a deep clean recently though? Oh, man, I guess that was way back in early quarantine!"

I keep hearing that we are entering COVID’s phase two, so I suppose that means it's time to deep clean the kitchen a second time. In some ways we are moving a lot towards what it was like back in March: the kids are taking classes remotely and soon the colder weather will isolate us again. Maybe we'll be reviving the Zoom cocktail hours that had been replaced by drinks on the patio.


I don't want to stop walk-and-talks with friends and potlucks on the patio. I know these things are still possible in cold weather but I despise being cold. I've been asking my husband if we're old enough to be snowbirds yet since we were in our late thirties. So I’m trying to prepare myself for it: physically, I’ve purchased new, warmer winter boots and mentally I've been visualizing how much I will enjoy the fresh air, movement and socialization of brisk winter walks with friends.


Naturally, when this headline showed up in my feed it caught my eye.



 The article suggests " . . . cultivating different states — social connectedness, a clear purpose, inspiration . . .  focus on something outside yourself." I reviewed the suggestions and realized I do most of those things already. Now when I do them, I will try to appreciate them for their apparently dual purpose of not just being things that feel good to do, but that are hopefully going to help this winter not totally suck.

Since autumn is the harbinger of winter, and winter is what I'm dreading, I thought I'd start with a gratitude list for the sights and smells I've been so thoroughly enjoying lately:


 1. Cinnamon Pine Cones: Starting in September, our supermarket places this highly scented cinnamon pine cones by the front door. I always inhale deeply and walk on by, such a weird product and frivolous purchase! 

Well last week I bought them, on a whim, and they have brought at least $4.99 worth of joy into my life if not more. I can't explain why I love them so much but I do.

2. Lip Balm: On the same day my lips were feeling chapped last week, a friend randomly gave me this lip balm. I like it quite a bit; it feels nice on my lips, has a good flavor . . . and when my 10-year-old saw it, she let me know that owning this brand lip balm means I am now entered into the category of "cool Mom." 


At long last, I'm cool! Thanks, eos.

 3. This Squirrel Thief: Pretty sure this furry little bandit stole that ear of corn from the farmer's cows but I enjoyed watching it maneuver it with its tiny hands anyway. Sorry, cows.


4. Montauk Daisies: All summer I kept thinking, "What's this green thing again? And is it ever going to flower or do anything exciting?" Ah, yes, they are my October bloomers, the Montauk Daisies! I don't pick favorite anything (ask my kids what my favorite color is and they will correctly tell you it's rainbow) but I have said that crocuses may be one of my favorite flowers since they signal the start of spring. I realized that Montauk Daisies may bump crocuses out of that toppish place on my list since they extend the flowering season. 


They also provide a lovely home for this tiny spider who now has no reason to make a web in my house.

 5. Walk Surprises: A walk through the park, when taken thoughtfully, can always produce a surprise or two. I find when I slow down a little and pay attention to my surroundings I can be amazed by interesting mushrooms or delicate spiderwebs that seemed crystallized by the morning dew. But sometimes I don't have to be paying that much attention at all to be delighted by the unexpected. For example, this wild animal I saw at the State Park earlier in the week;

Really, you're just pollution. But you did make me smile.


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