This week has been a miracle in terms of weather. We have had sunny skies and soaring temperatures during a time when snow is usually still on the ground and one is weary of a long winter. The effect of this kind of unseasonably warm weather is that it gets your spirits lifted – and you want to enjoy every ounce of being outside – because you have this secret fear that this may not last. So you take out your bike, and your hiking gear, and you go for a run or you play outside with your kids.
The first two days are incredible. You appreciate every moment of the newness, of the unexpected. You appreciate every moment of shadow and sunshine and long days to be outside. You enjoy the taste of the pistachio gelato that you haven’t had since fall last year. You smile at every one for no apparent reason. You like life and everything in it.
Then you forget. You fall back into your old ways, the ways of the winter, when your body was still cloaked in many layers and you hid behind them. You lament that you don’t have any clothes to wear because your summer clothes are still tucked away in a suitcase. You complain that it is too hot and unsettling because you were not prepared. You exclaim that you didn’t get to enjoy spring weather and have gone from winter to summer. And you forget that everything around you becomes invisible when you are in your stories.
At that point, if you are lucky – something or someone reminds you. “Hey!! Wake up! Look around you! This is incredible. This is magic. Look at the tiny yellow flowers. The sky is blue. Come, be outside and run wild, won’t you? ” For me that someone is my daughter Anjali.
This is her first summer (or like-summer) of being mobile, of being able to walk and run outside in the warm sunshine and she is determined to make full use of it every day. Each day to her is this incredible gift – a day where one has to be outside. There simply isn’t any other choice. So, at 7.00am, sometimes earlier, she takes her stand next to the door, and looks at me with her big black eyes and implores: ‘Outu’!!!! The first day I told her, it is still cold baba. Lets go in a little while. She seemed to see sense in that, for 10 minutes anyway. Then again, it was back to the door: ‘Outu!!’ And that moment when I acquiesce (secretly delighted at how much my daughter loves being outside, taking after her mother), she does a little dance and breathes fast in anticipation and says ‘outu outu’, like the words are the secret to the world’s most incredible sight. Of course they are. Children know something we forget.
The other day when we were standing by the berry hush. Anjali picked up a berry from the ground. I stood there watching – anticipating that she would try to put it into her mouth and I would have to say No. Instead, she took and berry and tried to put it back on the tree. Of course. It is that intuitive.
That is where the berry belongs and this right here – in this summer outside is where we belong. What we have today is a gift. Of course we forget. We forget that change is an invitation to start afresh, be more of who we want to be. And then something or someone reminds us. And in that moment, we remember. We become awake. And life becomes a little lighter, a little more interesting. That is when we are uplifted.
So today, I sit outside on the porch. Today, there are no complaints, just unadulterated, unexpected and grateful enjoyment of this gorgeous sunny day.