Thursday, March 14, 2013

Light happens

Funny how I claim to love winter, snow and ice. Yet how clear it is that winter also gunks up my receptors and makes it hard for me to see the bright side of anything, let alone life.

Masochism anyone?

But, as ebb and flow works, the ebbing has reached its peak, me thinks, or its valley, and the flow is right there eager to fill in that empty space, to cover up the bare, dry spots, like it should be.

How do I know? Well the March morning sun, and its magnificent habit of adding warmth and hope to everything it touches, told me so.

Anyhow, it should be known that today was one of those days where human connection just kept flying at my head at such a dizzying rate there was no point in ducking. I just stood there and took it full in the face, like tilting my head up to the sky and letting raindrops pelt my skin.

One thing after the next, from back- to- back stories on NPR that, thankfully, highlighted all that is good about being human, to a random conversation about the pros and cons of atomic fire balls with the cashier at a local general store, to the grandfatherly-looking man reading the Rutland Herald by the door in McDonalds who sized me up, as I was on my way out with my Paul Newman's organic latté, then said, "skiing?" and I said, "snowboarding" and he said, "Oh," and I smiled, and he said "Have a good time" and smiled as if we were old friends, but the truth is I'd never seen him before in my life and he just wanted to talk to someone, to connect with someone in a way that you start to think only happens in Mayberry but actually happens everywhere every day in ways so small and fleeting, if you aren't paying attention you might, and often do, miss them.

That man probably wouldn't have spoken to me at all if I hadn't somehow invited him to. And I smiled all the way to my car thinking about how funny life is and how rewarding, how affirming, the tiniest of human exchanges can be.

People can be friendly just as often as they can be awful. If you let them.

I could go on, but I'll stop there.


Sue said...

I know what you mean about the human connection, Betsy. I still remember a smile I exchanged with a woman 30 years ago, when I was just a child on a bus, looking out, and met the eyes of a woman on the street. We held each other's glance and simply smiled at each other, and the bus moved on. Why do I know that that was an affirming interchange, and why do I still remember it? Because it was unexpected, un-looked for, and therefore, that much welcoming. Sue

Anonymous said...

The joy of Spring euphoria! Happy Spring, Betsy!


Shampagne said...

Thank you for so honestly sharing the beauty and pain of everyday, normal life. It is so easy to gloss over the hard parts and pretend everything is always roses. You never seem to do that, and I appreciate that.

Betsy said...

I absolutely love those moments. And I missed them in France. I had small ones, non verbal, but missed all those random serendipitous conversations that can only happen between two people who speak the same tongue well enough for there to be no chance at miscommunication. It's hard to get to that point in a foreign language. It's the first thing I noticed when I got back, is how fun it is to get the corny jokes of some total stranger in the deli line.

Betsy said...

Shampagne: You're welcome.

Betsy said...

Kim AZ: Thanks, but you should know that spring's not really here in VT until halfway through May (:

Anonymous said...

Too true about Vermont spring! One of my daughters has a birthday in May and I was never sure if it was going to be hot enough for shorts and an outside party, or freezing and inside!

Here, spring has announced itself by being in the 80's during the day and the high 30's to low 40's at night. There's pollen everywhere and my allergies are going crazy! I'd LOVE to be experiencing mud season and sudden snow storms right now!


giwen72 said...

Oh, the pictures alone were just what I needed on a grey, blah day here in Maryland. I'm a transplanted New Englander who longs for snow but all we have here is mud and grey and this has been a long, long winter of viral illness and general yuckiness... Love your blog and your writing is always so real. Thanks for sharing this with us..


Jlynn said...

This winter seems long. I am not sure why but it just seems to be dragging on. Maybe because last year winter seemed to skip Vermont.
I love when I get a friendly cashier at a register that will strike up a short conversation while she rings up my groceries. It helps perk up your day.

Megan said...

Love it!

Anonymous said...

Betsy...what insight. You are an old soul. Love the part about how we can miss the tiny exchanges. So true. Today an elderly woman grab my forearm while talking at the grocery store. Her hands were strong but very soft. I was caught off guard by this human touch.