I know there are some of you who wish that every day would be 82 degrees and sunny, with just enough breeze to ruffle your bangs.

Not me. It's precisely this belief that convinced me years ago that I am just about as Midwestern as they come. Trust me, I gripe with everyone else when it snows in April. And I don't particularly relish the fact that I am currently wearing knee socks, jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt and a cardigan, but days like today ensure that those sunny days waiting right around the corner will be just a little more appreciated by yours truly.

Days like today also provide me with a perfect excuse to make a favorite "cold weather" soup for dinner, throw the wash in the dryer instead of hanging it on the line, and pretend I've never even met our garden hose.

As for tonight, I've got big plans to hunker down and watch the entire first season of Grace and Frankie.

I’ve been getting a lot wrong lately. Misplaced priorities, wasted energy, bending relationships. I haven’t been taking care of myself, and it was evident in my Christmas night tears.  I’m just so tired.

I’ve been here before, and my tendency is to jump start my heart right out of it, defibrillator style. Vacation? Clear. Yoga break? Clear. Detox menu? 1-2-3-Clear.
But it doesn’t stick. I always flatline one way or the other.

“That’s what the present is. It’s a little unsatisfying, because life is a little unsatisfying.” Gil said this in Midnight in Paris.

I felt this at midnight on Christmas.

I wish I was headed out of town this morning, driving toward the sun, toward the waves, toward a rhythm only the tide can offer. But the rain that started falling a year ago has frozen, and my roads are still too slick to travel.

I’ll wait it out. I’ll leave when I can.
I know the ice will melt, eventually, and I’ll be on my way to water. I know my ice will melt, too.

I've been a little nostalgic and contemplative, haven't you? There's plenty of room in life for playing the dealt hand, but I'm all for tying it up with a wide ribbon of intentionality. I enjoy giving thought to what needs to change, what needs to keep right on staying the same. All I know is, something has been off in me for the past year. Or two.

It has sucked the pink from my cheeks and and stolen away my sleep. I'll be danged if I haven't lost some of my passion for guacamole.

I've reached squinty-eyed into darkness for words that weren't there and sometimes, I haven't bothered reaching at all.

The thief was anonymous, shapeless, but I had my suspicions. Maybe it was stress. sickness. the move. Maybe I was right when I feared my soul and all its color might grip the fences and stay back at the ocean that last time.

I've missed it, my soul. I've missed the real me, the full me, the me with mojo in spades. I've felt  myself here like a phantom limb. I've seen flashes of myself from across the room and in between pages, but we never locked eyes.

I started to believe I was mostly long-gone.

But then I wasn't. I was back.

Just like that, I saw me bleeding through the top layers.

And nothing else had changed. Nothing in particular had brought me back, yet here I was, alive and well, loose in my skin, raised straight up from whatever it was that had knocked me down.

A month or so ago, I read these words:
"By and large, our world has lost its sense of wonder. We have grown up. We no longer catch our breath at the sight of a rainbow or the scent of a rose, as we once did. We have grown bigger and everything else smaller, less impressive. We get blase and worldly wise and sophisticated. We no longer run our fingers through water, no longer shout at the stars or make faces at the moon. Water is H2O, the stars have been classified, and the moon is not made of green cheese."

So, it wasn't a thief, after all. No cat burglar came along sneaky and masked and snatched me away. I walked away from wonder.

Or maybe I just faded.

Or maybe I needed to fade. Maybe it was vitally important for me to start to see the world just a little differently than I had before. Life had to be about more than the pale face of a peony or the feel of earth in my hands. I needed to cross over to the other side of the tracks, where life was as good as it was ever going to get.

So many times this year I've silently whined that my life doesn't feel mine anymore. I'd almost always catch myself - That's the point, right?  I think it sort of is. I think I'm the kind who needed to really lose a chunk of myself for a while, to let go and sink all the way down into the life that I was handed. 2015 brought gifts I cannot begin to count. It scares me to think of what I might have missed if my head had been perpetually buried in my salsa bowl or I'd been tangled up in magazine garlands.

Now it's a new year, and I've never been a winter sort of girl, but I'm praying every day for wonder, for the full and free knowing of Life and my wild capacity for beauty, creativity, love. It's finding me, just like it always used to do when life was simpler. Somehow, amazingly, I think I can do both now. I think I've seen enough of everything to know that I want it all.

What on earth will life be like with a shiny new coat of wonder?

I can't wait to find out and then do it again the next day. and the next.

just sayin'.

French Onion Soup

4 tablespoons butter
4 large onions, sliced
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 1/2 cups water
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
Four 1-inch thick slices of baguette, toasted
4 ounces shredded Provolone, Swiss, Gruyere, or any melting cheese of your choosing

1. Melt butter in a 6-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onions, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper; stir to coat well. Saute until they begin to soften and become golden, about 15 minutes. Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, until onions are softened, about 20 more minutes.
2. Remove and discard bay leaf. Stir, scraping up browned bits at bottom of pot. Raise heat back to
medium-high and slowly pour in the water. Add garlic clove, sherry vinegar and molasses. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.
3. Preheat broiler. Evenly ladle soup into 4 oven-safe bowls. Place one slice of toasted baguette on top of each. Evenly sprinkle cheese on top and place on a rimmed baked sheet. Cook under broiler until cheese is golden and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.


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