A Day to Breathe

For a moment there, I forgot to breathe. Has that ever happened to you? I used to worry about breathing a lot when I was a kid–suddenly remembering that I had to take a breath every few seconds, or I would die.  I would take control of my breath, think about breathing in, breathing out, try to make sure I was doing it right. The panic never lasted too long. But in those moments, I realized that, if I had to remember to make myself breathe, I definitely couldn’t keep doing it.

Sometimes the onset of winter and its holidays makes me remember how unconsciously I live, going day to day, writing, cooking, eating, minding the home fires, cleaning (ugh!). I get to the end of each day thinking, Where in the world did today go? I hope I get to have a tomorrow, because it would be strange and sad to have my life end on such an ordinary day.

If you’re a believer in astrological signs, you’ll understand that I–as a Cancer–am prone to homebody-ness, and a lover of the commonplace. My home is my world, and anything outside of it appears rather daunting. The interiors of my imagination, heart, and hearth seem vast to me, and exploring them uses up most of my energy. It’s not that I don’t want to travel or have new experiences. It’s that I forget that I can, and that they are necessary, and that I will be very glad to have gone those places and done those things. They are part of the breath of life.

Like most grownups I know, I despair of the enforced jollity of The Holidays. I hate that for every mention of Thanksgiving, I hear 864 mentions of Black Freaking Friday. And that even my own child has come to think of Halloween as the beginning of The Holidays. But for all the commercial fuss, I am thankful that there is Thanksgiving, a day when the ordinary blessings of life are celebrated. When a lot of people, like me, remember to breathe.

I’m thankful for my ordinary life. It’s a beautiful life, full of people and animals who love me and need me, and whom I can love and need in return. When I forget to breathe, I can round up a couple of ridiculously silly dogs (who never, ever forget to make sure that each of their moments lives up to its full doggy potential), and take off up the hill to walk in the meadow. And there are the sky and the trees and the mud and more sky to remind me that the world is only small when I make it small. Or need it to be small. That it’s all out there, waiting. Breathing. Blessed.

Hope your every day is full of breath and blessings.

5 thoughts on “A Day to Breathe”

  1. carmar76 says:

    breathing is good! (oooh, capt obvious has just visited your blog, sorry about that…)

    much as i love the holidays, i’m usually sad when they start so early. but THIS year i’ve been into it more! idk why. maybe cuz leyton’s getting older.. : )

  2. Leyton *is* getting so big–I know he’ll be a huge help to you as you get ready for Christmas. You get the best aunt, ever award!

  3. Coolkayaker1 says:

    Your lovely post brought back a memory for me, especially when you mention breathing in childhood. When I’d get angry at my mother, I was, oh, maybe 6 or 7 years old, I’d yell at her “When I’m 15, I’m going to hold my breath and kill myself.” She turend to me–and I still remember it now–and calmly said, “Why are you going to wait until you’re 15?”

    I love my mother, and her approach to life made me what I am now. But, man, she knew how to put it to me.

    Cheers, Laura. CK1 Steve

  4. carmar76 says:

    : ) thanks, laura!

  5. Steve, that cracks me up! My mother is/was similarly witty–but since she reads the blog, I won’t tattle, lol.

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