Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 17: Random Acts of Sunshine

by Zinta Aistars

A sunrise never gets old. It just turns into another sunset. Every morning as I get up to start my day at this country house that I am “sitting,” I watch the dark windows turn a pale and wintry blue. Sometimes, I catch many color variations between. On Sunday morning, I was dazzled by the light show, threw a coat over my flannels, slipped from slippers into boots, and raced outside with camera in hand to catch the sun coming up through the line of trees at the front of the house. Lavender, orange, red, blue and gold.

I have seen so many sunrises in my half century plus of life. So many sunsets. Why is it that such things stun us with their bright beauty each and every time as if we’d never seen them before? On work days, I miss some of the light show, busy with work day bustle, but every morning that I’ve been at this house in the country, 17 of them now, I find my hurried step slowing on my way from house to red barn, where my car is parked. It can’t be helped. There is a light in my eyes.

Light, and sounds of twittering birds and cooing creatures, and a freshness in the air that fills my lungs and wakes me in a way that the coffee mug cannot. Seventeen times, I have come to a standstill between house and barn. And stood. Just stood. Looking. Listening. Breathing. Forgetting time.

Smiling. Touched by random sunshine.

We tire of our chores, we tire of our work, we tire of our favorites, we tire of our lovers, we tire of whatever we see day after day after day. Why does this never wear out? This—a new day, fresh, sparkling, sweet. This—the call of nature. I have never tired of this, and I have never gotten my fill.

This day was to be my last full day at this country house. David, however, has written that he needs more time. Pulling together loose ends, tying up this and that, arranging the business of his life. He won’t be back home yet for a few more days, and I have been gifted with a few more sunrises here, a few more sunsets. I am not complaining.

Just a little over a week ago, I was quite devastated at what appeared to be the loss of my northern dream. But I stand now, between house and barn, work portfolio hanging loose from my hand, looking, listening, breathing, and feel a surge of new hope. So many odd and wonderful things have happened in the past week or so. So many unexpected puzzle pieces falling into place. Several surprises, appearing without warning. To sweeten it all, a few random acts of kindness.

We tell our children to fear strangers. Dare I confess that strangers in my life have so often been the bearers of unexpected kindness? I felt my world shift a little on its axis a few days after I had felt it shift me away from where I wanted to be. It seemed the last straw, straw that was woven into a nest for my nest egg with many other such straws, when my daughter’s car broke down with a huff and a puff, not to move again. It seemed the last straw after a year of burning up straws.

After being told to never trust strangers, aren’t we always told to never trust a mechanic? Especially a mechanic who is a stranger? My wallet open and ready to be emptied, my daughter went to pick up her car from the mechanic, extensive work done. The mechanic, an elderly man, had shared with her that he, like her grandparents, was an immigrant to this country. His auto shop was his ticket to his independence here. He made a good living and worked hard. He saw her anguish. He cut the bill in half. Pay me for the parts, he said, and my labor is my gift to you.

My daughter gasped. She called me with the news and I gasped, too. Why would a stranger be so kind? He had worked on the car all day long.

My world shifted on its axis again. I had given up. Silly me. I had forgotten that sometimes there is magic in this world. A daily, ordinary kind of magic that comes to us quietly and when we least expect it. Those shifts we do not see coming, unexpected surprises, and a kindness extended for no reason at all. Sometimes strangers turn out to be good people. They help us find our way home again.

I put one straw back and let it be the first straw of a new nest for a new nest egg.

One should never give up hope. A dream held so dear, so close to the heart, should never be lost. Impossible things become possible and fairy tales sometimes come true and princes sometimes have grease beneath their nails and wear oily overalls.

It was first of several such lessons over the past 17 days. The lessons were piling up like straws.

I stand between house and barn and observe, again, that the sun just keeps rising. After every sunset, no matter how dark, it keeps coming up again.

My number crunching still doesn’t make solid sense. I’m still reaching. Really reaching. And I am going to need a few more miracles, a dash of magic, a sprinkling of wonder, and when I get lost in the woods, a kind stranger to point me back to my path.

I’m pretty sure everything happens for a reason. Everything brings us a lesson. Including the way the golden light reaches across this yard, stretches, expands across the white snow so far between the tall, dark silhouettes of the bare trees.

I still don’t know how it will happen—my northern dream. I’m just sure again that it will. I am trusting in the light. I will keep faith in kindness. I will watch for the unexpected and how it gives shape to hope where it was nearly lost.


1 comment:

  1. We expect our friends and family to be kind and generous, but the kindness of a stranger is very powerful. No expectations,just amazement and thankfulness for their selfless actions and words. I'm so happy for your unexpected blessing.