I have long loved Jane Kenyon's poem "Otherwise." Read it here.
Kenyon catalogs the simple actions of an ordinary day with sensuous imagery. She stands on "two strong legs," eats a "ripe, flawless peach." At noon lies with her mate, eats dinner "at a table with silver candlesticks."
Her poem is both a study in the pleasures of the moment and--in the final line--a gut-punch reminder of life's brevity.
I thought of Kenyon's poem as I biked home from my mother-in-law's on this perfect September afternoon, reflecting on the chamois soft satisfactions of the day.
Kathy, my neighbor and dear friend of 37 years, stopped for coffee. We shared video clips of our grandbabies' antics. We commiserated over our farmer-husbands' similarities. We laughed aplenty.
After an indulgent Saturday nap, I played online Bridge with my dad. It went much better than last week, when his increased confusion dragged the single hand to nearly 90 minutes of struggle. Today we kept the game to 30 minutes. A win.
I then set my timer to commit to 20 minutes of school work. I clicked "reset" two more times to clock a rock-solid hour of tending to my grade book. I made a notes chart for my freshmen's writing strengths and weaknesses.
It then took me two minutes to tie my shoes and strap on my helmet. I rode my gravel bike to Dan's mom's house for accordion practice. Two years ago, we practiced with the goal of care-center concerts. The polkas we're now perfecting are for our ears only.
Tonight Dan and I tidied up a little to drive into town to eat at Rancho Grande.
We're now easing into the close of day. Dan's dozing in his chair. I'm on the sofa, reflecting on the satisfaction of a most uneventful day.
It could have been otherwise.
"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."