Reality & Our Open Arms

On a day brimming with snow and wind, I wanted pretzels.

There were none in the cabinets. So I zipped up my coat and stepped out into the thick of winter.

I kept my head down, eyes squinched up, shoulders hunched in, moving my legs as fast as I could to the hearty corner market that never seemed to close.

The pretzels I’d been dreaming of hung in their usual spot. I took two bags. Then, not wanting to go back outside, I rambled around the aisles, looking at shelves of over-priced jelly, cans of soup, loaves of squishy bread. Finally, I walked myself to the register, paid, and headed out.

Again, my body curled up like a scroll, fighting winter and trying to keep it from getting in. Every so often, I looked up to see if there was any oncoming traffic. And that was when I saw the foursome.

They were tromping down the sidewalk, wrapped up in soft, fat layers of wool, fleece, polyester. Their voices were loud and lively. Their bodies were uncurled and open. They were enjoying this.

And my tight, tense body and I had forgotten that was an option. I’d thought you could only get through it. But if you accept it, receive it with generous arms, reality is much more pleasant.

Winter, I thought as I turned the corner to my house, I’d like to bend you to my will. Only you won’t become crocuses and robins because I really want you to. So, I’ll work to take you as you are, not as I wish you would be. And I’ll do that with pillowy jackets, the thickest socks, mittens warmer than toasters. Then, perhaps that energy I spend fighting you can go towards stomping heartily, jollily through you.

I got home with my pretzels. The foursome was probably still out tromping, red-cheeked and raucous. Which could be any of us, if we choose to hold reality - however stormy - with arms open and wide.

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