Days Like This

It is a spectacularly beautiful day. I washed, folded, and put away three loads of laundry and cleaned the hamster cage with Aviva, before lying on her bed together testing out each other’s most ticklish spots. I savor laughing with her, and the times she hugs me unprompted, perhaps more than ever before. Third grade is racing to a finish.

Despite the perfect temperature and gorgeous bright sun, I had to push myself to run this afternoon before picking her up from school. I was just feeling kind of meh–and this is not meh weather. But about halfway through, I spotted a mama with her kid sitting on their front steps, then realized I knew her and stopped to say hello. Her son was selling pictures. “And they’re free!” she noted. So I shuffled through his photocopied drawings, choosing one he called “Happy Pig” and asking for his signature. We chatted for a few minutes longer before I set off running again, a rolled up original signed by the artist in my sweaty hand. On the run back to the car, I bumped into two other former coaching clients who’ve become friends. Then I rewarded myself with an iced latte from the Bluebird Tavern coffee stand on Church Street.

Now I’m sitting on the deck. I can hear the ice-cream truck chirping “It’s a Small World” somewhere nearby, neighborhood kids on the trampoline two yards up from mine. I just spent an hour here with a plastic bag on my head, letting the sun soak into my henna-drenched hair beneath, reading Muriel Rukeyser:

and I am clear of all the chains
and the magic now that rains
down around me is
a sunlight magic,
I come to a sunlight magic,

There are days like this, with their laundry and their happy pigs, hamster bedding and friend-bumping-intos, barefeet on the deck and ice-cream-truck-singing, when I am struck by the magic of the ordinary. It may sound trite, but it’s so very true. Days like this, when the sunlight is a kind of magic, lifting me out of my meh and into myself. The chains have lifted.

When Greg came by the house to get V en route to picking up Pearlie, he had a friend with him. Her plans to fly to Portugal today to begin a two-month trek on El Camino were thwarted by thunderstorms and striking airline workers. She wore the ashes of her pup who passed away last fall in a tiny silver vile around her neck. In the kitchen, smearing peanut butter on saltines, she asked me what my dream job would be. I gestured to the space around us. “This,” I said, without thinking first. “This is my dream job. To write, to have time with my girls.”

May it be so, may it be so. I don’t know what this looks like in the future, but I do know what it looked like today. There’s always that pesky question of monetization–don’t we all dream of getting paid to do what we love?–and I am just letting that question be for now, living it perhaps, without grasping.

When you don’t need an answer, there’ll be days like this…

3 thoughts on “Days Like This

  1. gailnhb says:

    Oh, Jena. I am right there with you – wishing I could get paid to be here with these kids, go on adventures with them, laugh with them, and write some stuff down every now and then. If you hear of such a job, take it. And then hire me!!!

    And don’t get me started on how much I would LOVE to get out on El Camino de Santiago for a few weeks. Have you seen the movie “The Way”? So good.

    Take care of yourself, your girls, your sweet lover, and that henna-ed and curly hair.


  2. julie (Kavanaugh) Peisel says:

    Oh, how I wish I would be a “friend-bumping-intos”. Not sure if I ever mentioned that we had intended to move up to Burlington several years ago. House on market, job transfer in process, schools & houses looked at, super excited best friend in Ripton and then the financial crash occurred & our dream had to be deferred. Not as simple to “up & move” as the kids get older & especially with one with special needs. Oh, and money. But someday. It may only include Tom & I and visiting adult children, but we will be there.

    Love to you and your beautiful days like this.



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