Thursday, January 17, 2008

December's Pure Joy

My husband and I just returned from Hatfield Park. It’s a quiet little park nestled beside a pond in rural Oklahoma. This morning the park was even quieter than usual due to the snow, which had fallen throughout the night. There are now four inches of that wonderful stuff piled up outdoors. As I sit in my cozy recliner, with a view of our snowy backyard, I begin re-living my morning experience at the park.

As we made preparations to take the dogs for a run at the park, I tucked a black plastic trash bag “sled” into my pocket, and we headed out to our 4-WD vehicle. On the road to the park I received a professor/lawyer lecture from my husband (# 499 in the ongoing series) about the risks involved in not being certain of what is under the snow, especially when it is just a black plastic trash bag separating me from the earth.

(I wonder if there happens to be a university somewhere that gives out honorary degrees to professor’s wives with attentive listening skills? Possibly some sort of a “BS” degree?)

We arrived at the park, I began climbing a steep hill that was just perfect for sledding. Being a 52-year-old grandmother I was a bit awkward. This used to be much easier! Hoping to scout out the path I would soon travel down, I used my Nike’s as “bump detectors” and made my way to the top of the hill.

I sat down on my “sled”, and then it happened. Pure joy! I slid my way down through some sort of midlife star gate. When I reached the bottom of the hill it was as if my whole world changed from black and white to color, and I felt totally alive. I don’t believe that would have happened if I had been on a real sled, or a saucer, protecting me from feeling the earth beneath me.

My thirst to repeat the experience kept me climbing up that hill several more times. Two of those times, my scruffy dog, Jake, rode down the hill on top of me.

Jake is my inspiration for cutting loose and enjoying, with pure abandon, whatever is occurring at the present moment. Living in town without a fenced yard Jake stays tied up most of the time. When he does get turned loose he is ecstatic. His joy is boundless, and he runs non-stop.

I stay “tied up” most of the time also - my fenceless yard being grown-up responsibilities. These consume my days, and sometimes my evenings, leaving me numbed and exhausted and falling into bed early so that I can get up the next morning and do the same thing all over again. But not today…

Today I stood on the top of a snowy hill and called to my inner child, “Come out and play!”

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