This morning the broken ice rang out like cowbells where the water runs from the fields and spills into the lake. It rained last night. And is still drizzling. But I slide the hood of my jacket down from my head so I can better hear the morning.

The ducks and the crows laughing. I always like to think they’re laughing. Probably not though. At this time of year, they are probably squabbling over territory and partners.

I take a deep breath. This is beginning again. My thighs a little sore from the previous run. The trail seems just a little bit longer than I remember. And afterward, my body moving through the yoga flow sputters and spits mild curses.

Leonard’s wet nose on mine while I’m trying to chant and visualize a still, blue body of water. I guess routine is something that we all need to wriggle back into. It’s ironic that by the time my medications kick in, it won’t be possible to know if it is the medication or the strict routine they require that will make all the difference. Not that it matters, and not that I care. All that matters is finding the middle path again. Away from the jagged edges, the thorns and the ice.

I wrote “I pour a cup of coffee” and then deleted it. I put a cup under the shiny spout and press a button, actually. And for the first time, I think about that tiny, lost ritual: pouring the coffee.

Don’t people in movies and books always say, “Shall I put the kettle on?” Maybe I will buy a tea kettle that whistles, just to listen to the hot water gurgle from the spout when I pour a cup. Loose tea leaves in a metal cage that clinks against the ceramic. A greenish haze in the water, escaped bits of stem. The word “shall”. Yeah, so a bit of appropriation — anachronism at best -: a bit of play-acting. But there’s comfort in that.

Instead, the coffee machine grinds the beans with a rude noise. Dumps water into the little glass coffee cup embossed with IKEA on the bottom.

There are some changes I would like to make in my life.

Every winter there are weeks we stay away from the morning route, to avoid running on ice and risking injuries. The dry cold never lasts long. February softens. The snow disappears. But always, we see clearly along this tiny stretch of landscape, that the earth is changed — every time. The path floods at different spots. The hen moves her nest.

We know we need
the familiar we crave
the novel and 
the woods provide attention
demands participation


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