Depending on where you live, Big Days can arrive in some very specific ways. The first snow/the first sign of melting snow; the first minus 30 degree temperature/the first relief from 100 degrees; the first day without rain/the first day of rain after a drought. Relatively modest things that nonetheless make a difference, that cause us to sit up and take notice for a bit – and smile.
I live in Minnesota, so that’s what it was like yesterday as I checked the week’s temperatures and saw that we won’t go below 40 at night. And that the 60’s and even a couple of 70’s are going to show up as daytime highs. Eureka! The Big Thing, though, was not just the improving temperatures.
The Big Thing for yesterday was that it had become time to remove the massive patio-door sized plastic covering that has graced my – you’ve got it – patio door all winter. Eureka!
That nearly-invisible plastic sheeting was the Big Thing that kept my electric bill in hand all winter. Thank you for your service. Now it’s neatly wrapped up and put away for another year’s usefulness. Unless global warming takes a big leap…
The sound of plastic being ripped from its sticky tape was music to my ears! And walking out onto my balcony in the chill spring air meant taking that deep, soul-filling breath of freshness and a new season.
It went up in November, and for the first time in my life in the North Country (where temperatures always drop below zero in winter), I didn’t take out my hair dryer and let it suck up all the wrinkles and imperfections until the plastic was taught and clear and (nearly) invisible. Meh…I just decided to live with the imperfections.
It wasn’t that I was tired of doing this every fall season for the past 30 years (though it does get tiresome…). I was just satisfied enough to have the view interrupted slightly here and there for a few months.
Perfection can be a fine thing, especially if you have a wonderful view to look at outside your frigid window/door. I do not have a wonderful view. Good enough…was good enough.
The one time that I wanted to gaze outside was the day of the BIG SNOW, when our apartment parking lot was a mass of spinning wheels, shovels and stuck cars. Everything else that I wanted to see this winter I could see clearly from my bedroom window, which was unplasticized.
This year, plastic perfection took a hike. The veneer between me and the winter temperatures was my goal, and it did its work valiantly! My writing desk sits in a little cubbyhole right next to the door opening, the biggest space for the winter winds to seep in. But I never suffered from the chills that could have made the space intolerable.
It’s all a part of the graces of elderhood. Some things that seemed necessary – or even imperative – have become seasons of acceptable imperfection and a new satisfaction with laying down what is no longer important.
So this was a sweet Big Day. Others will follow. The first days without an outer coat lie before me this weekend. My 78th birthday is on the horizon. My six month blogging anniversary comes up in May. I’ll be having the oil changed from winter to summer weight in my aging van. I’ll be seeing pictures of class reunions on Facebook and sort of wishing I’d decided to go to them…and remember.
And live more contentedly with the growing imperfections of these older years. They are surprisingly well balanced by the perfections that still remain.
And I find that I’m very okay with that.