Simple Comforts

Yesterday at four-ish in the afternoon, just before the sun was thinking about getting ready for bed, my husband walked into my office and said, “I started a fire.”

I was seconds away from working, but I’ve had a hell of a time concentrating this last week. It’s been like pulling teeth. Starts and stops. Stalls galore. So I decided to lay my work aside and go sit outside in the beautiful fall air and enjoy a fire in my backyard.

John and I had a great conversation, as we often do around a fire. There’s something about the focus being on those orange and black embers rather than on faces that helps words flow. And as the sky darkened around us, we shared our fears about the future and tried to figure out what we could do right now to make a difference.

We also talked about small comforts beyond cheese, pasta, potatoes, and chocolate. For the last several months, we’ve been focused on goals, getting shit done, planning the next thing, and never taking time to slow down and just be.

The talk around our maple-syrup-scented fire filled us up in a matter of minutes, and we both sighed with contentment. It was a beautiful few hours I’m glad I took the time for. I’m a workaholic, so I rarely allow moments like this.

As much as I’d like to have a fire every day to wind down in the evening, it’s simply not feasible. So we came up with a few things that make us feel content and help us live in the moment so we have the strength to fight again the next day.

Hockey. I’m going to subscribe to NHL TV again, even if I despite all the games that are blacked due to cable company monopolies. I can’t change greed, but I can watch hockey at the click of a button and shut my work brain off for a few hours.

Water. There’s something about warm water flowing over skin that is healing. So I’m going to take more baths and try new soaks and bubble baths and whatever else strikes my fancy. Any recommendations?

Light. Candles and fairy lights and mood lighting can change my entire outlook. I’m going to use light when I’m feeling down or uninspired. I’m going to light my favorite candle every day rather than saving it for a special occasion.

Journaling. Putting pen to paper helps me transfer my anxieties to the page. My lists get the junk out of my head so I can concentrate on what I want.

Driving. When gas prices went up, we stayed home a lot more than we used to. No more day trips to walk across the Mississippi River headwaters. No jaunts up to Lake Superior to be awed by Mother Nature. The drive to those places was half the fun. Gas prices are down, so I’m going to get in my car and get lost again.

TV/Movies. It’s been a whole lot of years since we’ve vegged out in front of the TV since we haven’t had live TV in years. Most of my entertainment is reading, but that’s also my job as a writer, and even more so, my job as an editor. I need to turn my mind off from words and switch over to visual more often.

As you can see, I don’t need extravagance to make my happy. I enjoy a simple life.

What are your comforts? I’d love to have more ideas so I don’t gain 20 pounds in the next weeks. What helps you come back to center when the rest of the world keeps engaging you?

And yes, the fire last night truly did smell like maple syrup.


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