Oh, the breakfast we just had. Perfectly cooked bacon, done in the oven. Sliced tomatoes. The last of the homemade rolls from the freezer, toasted and served with a choice of three homemade (not by us) jams. Tea and coffee aplenty
Scrambled eggs for me and for DF, eggs done “the way Jesus had his.” (See Matthew 11:30 for the punny explanation.) A dish of yogurt with rhubarb compote, both – you guessed it – homemade. The only reason we didn’t add in some of those Del Monte red grapefruit sections was that we forgot they were in the fridge.
The fireplace insert was churning out BTUs, its flames resurrected from the previous evening’s fire that had entertained us and also dried two racks of laundry. While I slept in DF had folded that laundry and put away the racks.
This lazy Saturday morning was seasoned perfectly by gusts of snow blown against the kitchen windows. Not new snow, but slabs of old snow and hand-sized chunks of frost blown off the roof and the neighbor’s giant larch tree. My breakfast sat more snugly and smugly each time snow scoured the panes: It’s out there and I’m in here, enjoying warmth and a leisurely breakfast.
All of which reminded me of a line from Pearl S. Buck’s “The Good Earth.”
“There was no house in the village of small scattered houses…which was so filled with warmth and plenty as their own.” (emphasis added)
Surely other homes in our cul-de-sac are as filled with warmth and plenty as our own. My point is how pleasant it can be to spend a quiet day in literal and figurative warmth and, yeah, in slowdown.
Plenty of warmth
It’s so easy to get caught up in gotta-do and wanna-do mode, sometimes both at the same time. Some of the gotta-do stuff really can’t be put off. Everyone needs something to eat and something clean to wear. Dogs must be walked, cat boxes scooped. Bills should be paid before they’re due, not rushed in at the last minute. And without a certain amount of cleaning your house becomes a place where you don’t want to be.
I’m not suggesting that anyone default on obligations. But rather than crowd every minute of each weekend with wanna-do stuff, I suggest stepping back now and then.
Sleep in, and mentally pencil “mid-afternoon” nap onto the virtual schedule. Have a late ’n’ lazy breakfast that’s big enough to do for lunch. Read a good book (I’m almost finished with “Here I Am” by Jonathan Safran Foer and that is one sharply realized slice of life. Highly recommended.)
If you’ve got a fireplace, sit and admire the flames (my nephew calls “watching the fire movie”). If you’ve got a sweetheart, hold hands or put on your favorite music and dance.
Talk. Talktalktalk about whatever needs discussion or whatever bears repeating. Allow time for companionable silence as well. And I’ve found that an extremely hot bath with an extremely cold beverage is a frugal delight any day of the week.
Without relaxation, without permission to disengage, our weekends become stuff sacks crammed with as many things onto which we can tauten the strings. As a lifelong multi-tasker, I can attest that sometimes you do have to make the most out of any scraps of time you’re given.
But I’ve also come to realize that some stretches of time should be spent doing as little as possible. Inactivity is itself an activity – it gives us the chance to rest and recharge, to take some deep breaths before taking up the burden once more.
What’s on tap
Not that we’re sitting absolutely still, mind you. We definitely have plans for this three-day weekend.
DF will do his usual canting gig on Sunday and may ski on Monday (he bought a season pass). I want to put up a post on my writing-focused blog (which I’ve neglected lately) and write and send a newsletter. I’ll do a daily 35-minute circle walk, bake a new batch of those homemade rolls for the freezer and maybe start a crossword puzzle.
Together we’ll be cooking some cold-weather-satisfying delights like “ham and yam” (sweet potato hash with caramelized onions, thyme and bits of leftover pig), turkey stroganoff (utilizing our home-canned bird), and soup made from our frozen boiling bag broth plus a new recipe for steamed-in-the-can bread that I just found. I need to put a new batch of yogurt on the fire as well.
The only things we aren’t planning this weekend? Hurry. Stress. Frustration.
Those may show up anyway, imposed on us from the outside world, but this weekend we’re treating ourselves kindly. Hope you can do the same.