Ordinariness.

On a day of yet more snow, of wind and cold, I’m reminded that people still keep on with their lives. Living doesn’t wait for convenience.

At the post office, I mail off a copy of my book. The woman who weighs my small package insists this is “sugar snow,” an early spring snowfall that will lengthen the maple syrup season. We sugared for years, and this kind of snow always meant a break in boiling and a chance to wash filthy snowsuits. The upcoming forecast is for as near-perfect sugaring weather as possible. Sugaring is the epitome of day-to-dayness — be smart, keep your eyes open, do the best you can — with no guarantees of a good or even decent season.

We talk for a few more minutes about shoveling snow, and then I head back out into the town’s Saturday morning. On my walk home, I stop in at the coffee shop and stand in the window drinking an espresso and staring out at the traffic struggling on snowy Main Street. There’s the usual confusion of the three-way intersection so many don’t understand — two stop signs and a blinking yellow light — as if the calculus of two stops and one yield doesn’t make sense. Standing there, I wonder if it makes sense mostly to those who use these streets day after day.

A year ago, the coffee shop’s tables and chairs were closed for seating, and I wondered if I would ever bring my laptop back here, to my favorite table where I once wrote a book. A year later, here I am, drinking coffee, surrounded by maskless people laughing and talking, writing notecards, going on about their lives. On this inclement Saturday morning, that seems nothing shy of a miracle.

“The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” 

~ Annie Dillard

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