Saturday, May 7, 2011

Enjoying the small things

Life isn't one big ball of endless happiness. Maybe some people are good at finding the beauty in every day, learning how to life each moment to the fullest, and seeing the bright side of every situation, but I'm not one of those people. Never have been.
I remember how funny I found it when one of my students described me as an optimist. Um, say that again? Me? Not what most people who met me at the age of 15 would have thought for sure. Perhaps it has something to do with the dramatic side of my nature, the artist that would be if given the chance and the motivation and the right connections.
It's been pointed out on more than one occasion, unfortunately by more than one person, that I'm good at...well...making excuses. That's not a pretty way to define it. Personally, I'd just say I'm good at rationalization, or at explaining the hows and whys of my life. If you don't think I have much to show for the years that have passed and the dreams that I've nurtured, take a look at my scrapbooks and photo albums. So my bank account is a weak point, I've still managed to see a sizable chunk of the world and to have accumulated a decent backlog of stories worth telling. And there comes that handy explanation. Why am I not a published novelist? I've been too busy getting out there and living. Some people find that to be an excuse. Well, let them. I really wouldn't trade the choices I've made for the ideals of someone else.
As usual, I've managed to get pretty far off topic. The point of this post was to say that, while it's easy for me to get bogged down in the mundane, trapped in the sameness and my personal disillusionment, there are those little moments that wake me up and remind me that there are bright spots in the world. And today I managed to have a bright sort of experience.
Moscow hasn't exactly figured out that it's Spring just yet. Sure, there are moments of shy surrender to the sun, but they're far too short lived for my taste. Having long been negatively effected by inclement weather, this lack of warmth and beauty has been wearing on me to say the least.
Today Mark and I decided we needed to get the hoo ha out of here and see something new. It's been a trend this week actually. We've taken a number of trips around the area and discovered some quaint country villages on the meandering roads of the Palouse. This time our drifting took us in the direction of Colfax. On the way there we saw a sign for a park and decided to see where the road would take us. We wandered around on dirt roads for a bit and finally arrived at Klemgard Park. It wasn't anything hugely spectacular, but there was a nice picnic type area and we found a little trail that wove it's way through the little forest clump. The Palouse is generally known for it's barren farmed hillsides, so every time there's something like a forest they seem to turn it into a park.
We watched chipmunks cavorting through the underbrush, listened to birds twittering about spring, followed butterfly trails across our path, and enjoyed little waterfalls as we followed the needle covered trail. It was a nice bit of exercise, and a good fresh air experience. The real miracle was that the sky was suddenly blue, the temperature soared to around fifty, and it truly felt good to be alive.
After completing the park circuit we continued along the dirt road that eventually led us to Colfax. On the way we did some long overdue Czech practice. I've let my studies down, which is definitely a weakness of mine. (Again, I have a long list of very practical reasons why my Czech skills are lacking. And none of them are lies either, but they still don't make up for the fact that learning Czech is something I need to figure out how to do.) I named different things I could see, and tried to answer Mark's questions.
We ended in Colfax where we were on a hunt for zmrzlina (aka ice cream). We didn't find any sort of fancy parlour, but instead checked out a local Rosauers grocery store. Much to our delight we discovered that, not only did they have Magnum bars on sale, they also had a solitary box of Pilsner Urquell! It was like a little gift from European soil right there in a small old fashioned Washington farm town. Who knew?
So the small things in life remember that there is always a reason to find joy in this world. Last week we watched "The Pianist" and were reminded of just how cruel mankind can be, and just how beautiful a loaf of bread with berry jam is.
I know I need to stop making excuses. I know that, even living in Moscow, ID, even working in retail, even having what appears to be a small life at the moment, is a blessing. And you just never know when you'll walk into a store in the middle of nowhere and find just what you've been looking for.


Tanja said...

Hi Sarah!

You writing is wonderful - like a professional writer.
Do you live in Moscow or did I get that wrong?
Anyhow, your article reminds us of a very important thing: to concentrate on the good little things in life - TODAY - and not to worry about the future too much.

I am so glad you found Czechmate Diary because that is how I found your blog. I will be linking to one of your articles very soon but until then would you like to exchange links?


Transient Drifter said...

Sure, I would be happy to. I'm pretty computer illiterate, but I can try. I did add you to my reading list already. I'm currently living in Moscow, Idaho, so nothing hugely dramatic.
Anyhow, glad you liked the blog. Being a professional writer is what I aspire to, so it's nice to be recognized by someone new. I'm working on a few novels at the moment, so we'll see what the future holds. Thanks so much for checking me out :)

Tanja said...

Oh, Moscow IDAHO!!! That's a little less dramatic than Moscow Russia :))

Sounds great, I will add you to my links. When you get a chance check out the second segment of links, there are couple of girls just like you, I mean American ladies who are married to Czech guys.

Anonymous said...

I love your writing! And I love the movie "The Pianist"...
I can understand you can get kind of down during the winter months in Czech. ...some days are brutally depressing. I used to spend them in Prague coffee shops.