It snowed in '71


I woke up this morning to the almost silent tap of snowflakes. My birthday was a few days ago and Christmas is on its way. Once again, another trip around the sun and another phase of my life for reflection. There's such a calm purity that blankets your mind when everything is so effortlessly covered in white. All of the flaws are hidden and the world has given a clean slate with no judgement or strings attached.

I slipped out of bed and walked into the kitchen to start the coffee pot, and was transported to a day almost 45 years to the second. Four and a half decades ago we moved into this house. December 1971. I believe that it was the 8th. A Monday. The first day at a new school. The first day to meet a new group of friends and teachers that many would remain in my heart to this day. I rarely if ever missed school, but Mom said, "Why don't you stay home with me today?" We needed time together. We needed to put the cereal away in just the right cabinet. We needed to bond with the new home. We needed to dip our toes slowly into the new pool of our lives. Just like my younger self, the bus drove by without me in it.

I can close my eyes and be ever present in that moment. I may have given the old digs a more than pint size nip and tuck, but it has the same soul. I can smell the meatloaf, hear the music, feel the arms of my grandparents wrapped around me. I still hurt from the tears, giggle at the laughter and put in a timeline all of the moments that have lead me back to this place.

Coming full circle can often feel as if you are spiraling to the end or you can view it as a second chance to begin again. As I have mentioned before of the age of 27, I am reminded that my parents turned 27 shortly after moving here, and I am now 53 which is my second set of that important number. Beginnings. Endings, and starting over once more.

This process has given me time to think, and for a "thinker", that can lead to over-thinking. Maybe that has been the true gift of this journey, to remind myself that what will be, will be and frequently, thinking is over rated. We are made up of mind, body and soul and each has its own voice. When they collectively speak its like a big Greek Wedding, chaos and lots of sour potatoes, but when the screaming is over and you are at peace, all of the voices sing in a vocal union that creates harmony. Don't be afraid of the voices as each small piece is a part of your larger self.

I am re-inventing. Changing the house. Changing my focus. Moving the parts of the tetris puzzle to lie in a new perfect foundation for the next level to come. Some pieces have history, but no longer have purpose , while others have served a momentary need but have created no special bond for retention. Letting things go can be difficult, but empty space allows for visual and mental clarity. Your physical surroundings are a representation of your mind and frequently a good "house cleaning" is better than a big pot of chicken soup.

It's good to get all of your ducks in a row, but once in awhile we need to be reminded that in a crisis it may become necessary to give one of the "fowlest" away to someone that desperately needs a drumstick or two. Everything in its place and all things in their time.

This house is small by comparison to the needs of many, but serves me well. I had to decide how committed to its possibilities to be as well as its limitations, and as I hate the thought of finite concepts, the editing has been painful at times. For the majority of budding families the closet and cabinet space may be just too lacking, but for a single man fine tuning his existence, it forces me to search deep for the WHY? What do I need on a daily basis? How many pairs of shoes do I really wear? How many times will I truly entertain formally? How many pieces of 40 year old Tupperware with mismatched lids need to be shoved into one cabinet? This has forced me to keep one, throw one away. Keep two, give three away. Hide one, and box one up to be stored in the barn until I realize it's never going to be used again, and yes, start the process once again. If you think about it, not many of us truly need a king sized walk in closet in every room. It's just someplace to horde duplicate items that placate our need for things, and too never get used. How many of you have multiple pairs of black shoes, tan slacks and white shirts that hang with price tags still intact waiting for that special moment that never comes or get trumped by your comfy standbys anyway? We have too many things that mean nothing, and save too many wonderful things for someday. Drink from the good cup everyday. Wear the expensive shoes everyday. And yes, always use the good towels. Keep them out in clear view so you never forget. When you have worn them to the last thread, thoughtfully purchase new ones that make you smile, and rub them on your happy little naked body as often as possible.

Cleaning house equates to cleansing your mind. It clears a path to walk straighter in your job, your finances and relationships. Out with all of the old, and in with fewer specially selected goals, purchases and friends. Sometimes we need a "flavor of the month" to get us through the moment at hand, but how many will stand the test of time? And, isn't that what it's all about? Time? Time to spend with friends and family. Time to do your best work. Time to map out the next steps to take? I have found through all of this that what I cherish the most in my life now is time.

Looking back on that single day of playing hooky with Mom and just watching it snow, I now realize that it was about time. A moment in time that is infinite. Forever in my mind. The gift of her time, just for me. That memory has helped me to put the cereal box into a new spot. Put the laundry room in a new space. Fill Mom and Dad's closet with my things, all while thinking how this affects my life now and my time.

As I give things away that no longer need my hands, I make room in my heart and head for the things that now serve me. When you come to my house and need a bowl of Cap'n Crunch, there aren't' that many places to look and no matter how packed the drawers may still be, there will always be more room for friends and family, for the greatest gift that we can give to those we love is our time..........