A Day

The Wisconsin landscape is ablaze with white, our fields scoured and glistening under the intense chill of a sub-zero day. The library was closed today, so the Norwegian church records and the obituaries in piles on my desk must wait one more day. I miss them already.

Today was a robe and hot cocoa day, a pasta and prayer day, a day of comfortable silences and pens scratching against paper. The cat skittered across the floor, no doubt pretending he was romping through his own winter wonderland, joyful that his two humans were home. Four dark-eyed juncos pecked at seed on our balcony, clearly taking great enjoyment in plundering the free food.

At my great-grandmother’s table, I read essays by Barbara Tuchman for class, knocked backward by the force of the voice and soul erupting from her words. In an instant, I felt again that passion for what I do, the reminder of why I study, why I surround myself with documents and records. Like a bloom from a snowbank, her compelling essay reawakened in me my own stories of library stacks and childhood books and life-changing moments that led to my love for history, for a good story, for writing. And she made me yearn for more.

With dusk creeping over the fields, I turned to the kitchen, squeezing pleasure from the simple act of creating in silence, cutting garlic and sifting oregano with joy in my fingers and prayers in my head.

Life is often so much rushing, so much doing. I’m actually grateful for the snow and the cold today. It made us stay still, listening to each other and ourselves, counting the time in words read and cocoa sips and meals made, rather than seconds or minutes or to-do lists. I need to seek these days out more, in which my soul finds the permission to do what it needs and wants, to go nowhere, to find the beauty in home routines.

Be still, be still, be silent and still, for there the sacred is found.

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