Sun bright. Crisp Friday morning.

Most trees are bare now, except for the big yellow one in the middle of campus. The cold air whips my cheeks, but I feel alive.

I walk to class.

Nothing in my professor mailbox. I am caught up. One student arrives early and thanks me for not letting her off easy. Every grade earned, hard work rewarded.

The semester is drawing to a close. It has been weeks full of ideas and rules, clarity and articulation. I love teaching.

I love writing, too, and even more I love the interaction between teacher and student.

Last night, I said to my husband, “I’m so much nicer now than I was years ago.”

He laughed. “What an odd thing to admit,” he replied.

Maybe. But it’s true.

When I was younger, my own insecurities kept me looking down my nose at others, seeing their flaws instead of facing my own.

I admit it. I was rude, mean, judgmental. Because I did not love myself.

But it’s been years since then, and now I am happy, and content.

I look in the mirror and I can accept how far I’ve come and where I stand right now. The shoes fit; I wear them.

And so when I stroll past a stranger on campus, I smile and offer a hello. It doesn’t matter if I know them or not. I say hello. They smile back. We have a moment.

My days are filled with such moments. We can see beauty and ugliness in the same view; it is a choice.

So many years spent staring down the ugly side of the cliff. What a waste! But there’s no looking back. There is only today, and today dawns bright and brisk and full.

I hear the traffic early in the morning, before sunrise. The highway in the distance carries people to work. They drive open-eyed in the dark.

I rise from bed, as sleep eludes me. I lay on the couch under a tight blanket and scroll through reruns of TV shows. I fade into sleep.

And then, a ring startles me awake. It may have been real, it may have been in my subconscious, but my heart pounds as if it were immediate, and I have to breathe deeply for a while to ease back into repose.

Eventually, the sun rises, and I’ve been up for two hours, at least. I send a few emails. I rush to shed pajamas and pull on clothes. A heavy blue sweater with sparkling snowflakes because winter is on our horizon.

Beautiful winter. My youngest son loves the darkest and coldest season. He eagerly awaits its arrival.

And I remember winters past, with my children burying one another in mounds of white snow, their small hands warmed by a cup of hot cocoa.

These moments are fleeting. Now I have teenagers. My little guy still nestles close and if I’m truthful, so do my older kids. Just not in sight of their peers.

It’s ok. I’ll take the love and closeness whenever it comes, and however.

Today dawns bright. It’s a cold late fall Friday, and my busy week is coming to a close.

I’m ready for rest. The Sabbath beckons it’s glittering candlelit finger. I will have two days with my beloved to light the fireplace and read under blankets on the couch, his feet near my head and my feet near his.

There will be music from the speakers and hot coffee in mugs on the little tables beside us and we will not feel the need to get up and go anywhere or do anything other than savor these moments because they are really all we ever have.

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