Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Magic of an Ordinary Day

Yesterday was a fun day. It started around seven in the morning when I woke up in a house full of sleeping kids. I went downstairs, started the coffee pot, and went outside on the porch to give the flowers a little drink while I waited for my own cup of miracles to finish brewing. It was an amazing morning – already steamy so early on, the day announced itself as yet another scorcher.

There is something quite magical about a summer – or late spring – morning. Birds fill the air with an excited song of promise and the nocturnal moisture is still lingering in tiny droplets bathing every leaf and strand of grass, as if they just came back from a relaxing swim. I sat on one of the porch rockers for a few minutes and deeply inhaled the intoxicating scent of grass and budding life, before an even more bewitching aroma penetrated the air and made everything pale in comparison – coffee was ready.

The rest of the morning passed quite uneventfully, aside from my daughter running off like a thief in the night with the magic marker I was using to create a poster for the book signing, and then forgetting where she had left it when her 5-year-old attention was captured by some other random thing. Funny as it is, while I was looking for the marker I found an old necklace I had misplaced some time ago. I never found the marker and I came to the conclusion that either my house swallows and spits items at its own liking, or my daughter fits her enchantress name and she figured out how to make things shift in and out of reality at will. I am confident that with more practice one of these days she’ll learn how to shift a sack of money INTO reality.

Hours flew by and it was suddenly time for morning to trade shifts with afternoon, which also meant it was time to leave for the signing. With a budding knight in shining armor in tow, I left my screaming daughter home with dad – that girl might never learn how to shimmer money into reality but she will, one day, win a Grammy for best dramatic performance – and Michael and I got on the road.

When we arrived, the owner of the tea shop informed me they had been pretty slow but I unpacked anyway while my son went next door to get two bottles of water ($4 for two bottles of water! You’d think the kid had bought Zeus’ water of life and knowledge!)

The signing proved to be slow as well, but we had a great time. A handful of friends stopped by and kept us company; I sold a few books and raised the first $15 going toward Hooked on the Book, a newly-launched project to raise funds for the Gulf.

After wrapping up, we went to Piccola Italia with two of the friends who stopped by. We sat at one of their outside tables and chatted away. The food was great, the wine superb, the company wonderful, and we even got to meet the owner of the joint, a jolly little Italian Man with a heavy accent and hands magically designed to make good pizza. What more can a soul desire?

The rest of the evening was very laid back and even my magic marker reappeared, now that I no longer needed it. When the kids went to bed I thought back about the day and couldn’t help smiling. There are challenging things happening in the world, often in our very own backyard, yet every day can be a great one if we stop and appreciate the small things. Through the eyes of a pessimist yesterday could have been a poor day – a necessary tool was lost, the signing was slow and the air outside was as hot and humid as soup, but if one really focused on reality, all those things had another, much happier side – I found a long-lost item, the lack of a large crowd gave me the opportunity of getting to know the people who had come a little better, and the warm weather allowed us the chance to sit outside and crown the day with a good meal and pleasant conversation.

Life is what you make it, and each experience can be as tart as lemon or sweet as candy. Personally, I choose to see it as a box of my favorite chocolates.