I stand for a while analyzing my reflection in the gloom before me.

There it is, so much of life rolled out like a tired gray carpet.

A few stains are noticeable, along with a small tear here and there.

“No worse for wear,” I mumble to myself.

In the distance, six buildings proudly stand where I’ve worked at one point or another in this time line of a life.

I notice two blocks away, the old senior high rise is still around. I’d often stay there in Grandma’s tiny apartment as a child. She’d spoil me rotten with a fresh candy bowl of chocolate kisses upon each arrival.

And lots of real ones, too, as we’d play in the big park before me.

One block north on the corner, I see the brick apartment building remains where I was treated to the best shrimp omelette I’ve ever eaten on my second date with my late husband.

Thirty years later I can still taste that first warm bite. And the smell of the shrimp sautéing in sweet butter still lingers, too.

Suddenly I find myself smiling again.

I look down at the vacant cars before me.

I’ve pondered some about moving out east, or maybe west.

But perhaps I will stay parked here a little longer.

It is home after all.

My home.

Living in the moment

So what if I live in a state recognized for having the most miserable winters, and there’s snow everywhere?

This morning our sky is blue, the sun strong, and the temps are above freezing.

“Carpe diem,” I proclaim to the petite four legged pack before me, tossing each a toasty treat as I leave my house for work.

And fortunately I’ve packed a treat just for me.

I’ve built in a special 20 minute detour.

It’s just enough time to take a quick walk by the lake.

After parking my car, I cross a bridge to an empty, yet sandy beach.

Sure, the sand’s buried deep below the white stuff, but just knowing it’s there makes me smile.

Walking forward I notice the concession stand’s empty. There are no long lines for the cold sodas and hot dogs listed on the red weather beaten sign.

Still a chilled, yet warm bicyclist races by giving me a friendly wave while speeding towards the middle of the frozen lake.

“Why the rush?” I ask, too late for him to hear.

Probably to join the ice fishermen I figure, continuing my march down towards the water.

I cut through a small park on the beach, admiring a little blue boat.

The tiny boat brings back memories of kids, canines, and camera shots.

With hopes for more of the same in the months ahead.

I then notice someone’s dragged a picnic table to meet the frozen shoreline. I move towards it and climb on top of the table.

I pull out a still steaming thermos of french roast from my backpack.

I take a sip, and briefly close my eyes.

I feel the sun on my cheeks.

I hear the quiet.

And I find myself thankful to be living in this moment.

Especially in January.

January’s for the dogs

“What’s up, Maddie?” I asked my solemn looking corgi this morning as I joined her down on the floor next to the dog bed.

Lame, this sweet girl’s over 94 in dog years. I’m trying to keep an extra eye on her to make sure she’s cozy in these cold winter months.

“Is it a case of the post holiday blues?” I asked, hoping it wasn’t something more.

She seemed to nod, and then pointed her wet nose towards the cupboard where the dog treats are stored.

“Maybe you’re missing those red and green rawhide candy canes Santa brought Christmas Eve?”

I turned around to find Maddie adorned once again in her favorite holiday halo, looking hopeful.

Apparently I was right.

But I knew those candy canes were long gone.

I had to get creative.

“Maddie, you’re such a turkey. How about half a sandwich of the same?”

Though my girl’s a Welsh Corgi, her adopted heritage is Swedish, so I added some left over holiday ligonberries just to sweeten her mood.

Maddie gobbled it down in record speed, licking her lips.

“Was it good?” I inquired.

Maddie gave me her best ‘you betcha” smile as she drifted dreamily into another one of her long winter’s naps.

And I soon did the same.