Happiness On Winter

Being Good

It’s so hard to be good. One day I get a perfect score with my To Do list while getting a poor grade on my Personal Well Being list, the next day I balance the two to perfection but score poorly on my Self Reliance list by burning too many BTUs of fossil fuel. Some days I floss. Some days I don’t. Ditto with drink, drive, stay balanced, get caught up and over eat.

I’m within a day of finishing Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” and looking forward to checking it off my To Do list. I’m jazzed to be armed with some cool new tools of self-awareness but worried that I’m still not very good at being fully present.  At the same time, I know I should be ignoring my “egoic mind” which whispers to me of competitive edges.

Snow Day in North CarolinaIt’s winter in North Carolina. To northerners, this sounds lovely, so close to the Keys and all. Our pals on Maui feel for us and are taking the opportunity to finagle us back to the islands. Meanwhile, the people we left behind in Belize and Nicaragua get excited by the thought of tiny white crystals falling from the sky and only wish they could see snow one time.

At first blush, winter here seems cold. Sometimes very cold. And brown and dead. Just like it was for us in Colorado and Virginia. And dark with its shortened days.

If I take winter one day at a time, I find that many of winter’s days are golden. Bright, blue sky, single jacket wearing weather. Dry and clean and perfect for long, rustling walks through the woods, spotting details formerly obscured by lush undergrowth.

There are days when quick trips to the compost pile turn leisurely as I contemplate the mystery of avian nesting routines.  On those days I find myself standing beneath the red tips, mesmerized by the music of dozens of tiny peeping voices.

These golden days of winter are good days for hanging laundry and raking leaves. Good days for trimming otherwise untamable vines and hammering replacement staples into fence posts. Good days for sitting on the porch with the sun on my forehead. Good days for being good.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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