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Beth Caldwell - The View From Here

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Snow day breeds positive vibes

I stared out longingly at my sailboat on Monday morning. It looked dejected and beaten down by the skiff of snow that covered her like a thin white layer of wax paper that weighed two tons.

I’ll bet she, too, was thinking, “Really? Snow? I just want to sail.”

And then again, she looked so right at home sitting there, waiting patiently for the next round of new paint, a cleaner hull, and a new life for the water.

A little snow wouldn’t keep her down.

New words wash ashore

If it wasn’t for lists, I would never get anything done around here.

Although I freely admit that sometimes just having a list makes me feel I’ve accomplished something—and sometimes that means nothing on the list really gets done at all.

I just look it over, and cross stuff off and add other things to it.

In fact, on the desk beside me right now is a list I wrote in the spring of 2014. It reads, “outside tarp (not sure what that means), new patio flooring, black earth, lawn seed, rocks, cinder blocks (not sure what I was thinking about here, either).

Here’s to uncharted waters

Someone paid me a heart-warming compliment recently, revealing to me that I enriched life during time spent together.

I’ve learned to say thanks for sincere moments of offering like that.

There was a time when I would have reduced the accolade with “Oh, don’t be silly” or “I don’t know if I’ve done that” or “Are you sure you mean that?”

Today, though, I love and believe in myself enough to accept it as true when someone says such a nice thing about me.

And good feelings are best when shared.

My purse tells a story of its own

Do you remember what was in your grandmother’s purse?

My Grandma’s purse smelled like “Juicy Fruit” gum and there always was at least a stick or two in there for the little kid I was at the time.

I don’t chew the stuff today but if I catch the scent of Juicy Fruit wafting by it takes me way, way back.

By comparison, my purse smells like the old moldy apple I found in the bottomless pit of the thing.

Remember the old 1970s game show, “Let’s Make a Deal?”

Trust me—take a walk

Allan Gurganus is an accomplished American novelist and although I haven’t read any of his books, I came across a quote of his during a recent detective project.

“Know what, Sugar? Stories only happen to people who can tell them.”

It resounded with me, though I’d hate to think that what I perceive as my somewhat intimate relationship with endings and struggles in life happens because I am good at writing about all that malarkey.

I’d like to think there is something more valuable to my living my book of life than that.

Sometimes clouds have silver linings

Did you know that the heart of a woman only weighs about eight ounces?

I didn’t. It wasn’t until I recently checked “Google University” that I learned the facts.

I was sure mine weighed more like 10 pounds—stone heavy and sinkable.

I’ve been away, caring for that part of me. But thanks, in part, to my friend, Don (who is wise beyond words and who also knows how to put caring words together), I am back—sitting in front of my keyboard.

Don told me to “just start writing,” which if you’ve noticed I haven’t been doing for a few weeks.

Weaving a grateful path

I have nothing to say—at least that is what I’m typing at this very moment.

A wise editor once said to me, “Write about the most important thing first.”

I heed his wisdom. I have nothing important to write about.

My excuses for said nothingness, pathetic at best, are piled up and stuck to each other like the anti-inflammatory medicine capsules I accidentally knocked into the kitchen sink, slick-wet from a wash of dinner dishes.

A short list of what I know

I have a tough assignment this week.

One of my daughters solicited me for a handwritten list of the best “life” advice I had for her.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe I have good advice to give. I’ve had a myriad of experiences and I’m blessed with an open mind.

Both warrant a gift of wisdom—yet rarely do I offer my counsel.

When I was 20-something and pliable as Play Doh, I was handed advice left and right before I asked for it. Some of it was very good. Some of it changed my mind before I had a chance to make up my own.

Where I’m at with all that

Honestly, this has been the best, most genuinely “soul-filled-with-peace” holiday season I’ve had in years.

I didn’t mope about my past, I didn’t pick apart my present day, and I didn’t fret about my future. I, quite simply, was “right here, right now.”

I won’t be able to express, within the confines of the English language, how much acceptance is in my heart. And if I had feathered wings, I would fly.

Young at heart the key in ’15

It never crossed my mind how much I would treasure peace and quiet until I looked across the room just now and realized the kitten was fast asleep.

Asleep instead of tearing around the house strafing curtains and racing up the back of my reading chair only to launch itself into the bookcase.

Of late around here, it’s been a crazy cross between the inside of a pinball machine, with the steel ball ricocheting from one corner to the another, and energy bursts that rival the speed of particles inside the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland.