This morning, I woke to eight degree temperatures and severe wind chills. Despite the fact that the furnace seems to have been running non-stop, the house never seems to get warm. Cold air snakes in around leaky windows and through outlets and beneath the doors. There is a demanding meow at the front door: Outside Cat asks to be let back into the garage.
The dryer is running. Great blasts of steamy air billow and swirl outside beneath the vent. It’s a good day for soup; steamy soup gently simmering on the stove, small bubbles breaking the surface, filling the kitchen with heat and the aroma of chicken and sausage and ham and spices; soup thick with potatoes and onions and carrots and tomatoes. The dog sits close at hand, watching hopefully for scraps. Orange Cat lies in a patch of sunshine on the back of the couch. He will remain there all day until thirst or hunger call to him.
And yet, I must leave, if only for awhile. I go to the garage and get my tennis shoes. Outside Cat tries to slip in between my legs, but I’m too fast for him. I scoot him back outside and sit at the kitchen table to inspect the inside of my shoes. Outside Cat has taken to messing in the garage, perhaps in retribution for his banishment from the house. I suspect someone’s shoes are under attack.
My shoes sound different in eight degree weather; they sound hollow and heavy and plodding. The wind whips my face, sends tears streaming down my cheeks. It is cold and silent and still.
All I can think about is how cold I am.
I don’t notice the Christmas decorations; the trees at the curb; the birds soaring overhead; the clearness of the day; the bright blue sky; the cleansing quality of the first cold day of winter.
No. I don’t notice any of this. I just want to quit.
But there—that distant speck on the horizon: my sister, five hundred miles in front of me. And counting.
Last year, she logged twelve hundred miles. I managed only seven hundred. This year, I’ve resolved to do more.
This year, making twelve hundred miles is my first resolution.
Resolutions are the mirror of the soul. They offer clues about the person we are and the person we wish to become. They highlight our beliefs, our concerns, our successes and what we’d like to change about ourselves. Resolutions reveal dreams and wishes and goals.
Last year, I failed at all but one of my resolutions.
And yet I will continue to make them. Because ever so slowly, I’m resolved to become the person I want to be. My yearly resolutions are the building blocks to change.
I’m surprised to see I’ve logged my three miles. I come in from the cold. My face is flushed. I bring in the scent of winter upon my clothes. “How was your walk?”
I glance out the window. The sunset is a brilliant red. The neighbor has plugged in the Christmas lights. The soup smells delicious. The house is toasty.
“My walk was great.”
I sit down to remove my tennis shoes and when I take them to the garage, the cat sneaks in and runs to the basement.
Labels: Creative non-fiction, resolutions