Friday, October 21, 2011

Ordinary Days

When the shriveled skin of the ordinary is stuffed out with meaning, it satisfies the senses amazingly.
Virginia Woolf

I don't bring my iphone to listen to at the gym anymore...ever since the incident...which still makes Stephanie laugh when she remembers it.  Lately I've been reading instead.

The other day I was on the elliptical runner, trying to stay aloft while I read  The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. (Sometimes my balance wavers when I turn pages...)  It was 6:30 in the morning and my brain was barely awake and the book is full of philosophy and sophisticated language.  (It was translated from French to English.  When I come across a word I don't know I wonder if it's an English word?  French?  Something else altogether?)

So it wasn't an optimal reading environment, but something I read struck me nonetheless:
 Elsewhere the world may be blustering or sleeping, wars are fought, people live and die, some nations disintegrate, while others are born, soon to be swallowed up in turn--and in all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn:  human life continues to throb.

I am grateful for the continuous throb.

The ordinariness of ordinary days.  There are small annoyances like my alarm clock going off, gas tanks that need to be filled, children that drop belongings like autumnal trees drop leaves.  There are the small pleasures like kissing hello and good-bye to my loved ones; chatting on the phone with my mom, sisters, Janet; laughing with Jill and Stephanie while we simultaneously walk the neighborhood and solve the problems of the world.

There are small dramas.  (I have a twelve year old daughter, of course there are dramas.)  There are minor crises.  There are little triumphs.

But mostly it's just ordinary.  Ordinary flawed people living in an ordinary house in an ordinary neighborhood.

And we're mostly pretty happy in our ordinariness.

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