Unscheduled time / by Christina Rosalie

In the back yard animal tracks zig-zag the snow like hieroglyphs spelling secret messages of those that came before. The air is bitter cold. The windchill much below zero. But the light is perfect and golden against the snow; the shadows purple and long, making zebra stripes of light and dark at the edge of the woods. The light makes all the difference. Even from indoors, the light makes things golden and dappled and suffuse with goodness. On the picture windowsill indoors I'm keeping orchids. On the counter in the kitchen cyclamen. They glow. Hot pinks, decadent and delicate. They make me smile.

All week things have been making me smile. Making a mobile for above the baby's bed; walnuts and honey on toast; a new notebook for February; bringing a carrot cupcake to Bean when I pick him up from school; actually finishing a book.

Like unpacking summer clothes, I've been unpacking myself from the strange cramped quarters of stress that had taken over my days. I have a sense of humor, patience, and the ability to remember things. All this is remarkable, really, since before this week I felt like a deranged robot, going through the motions of every day, always on the verge of tears, exhausted beyond the point of... anything.

For the first time in years, I'm kind of in the mood for Valentines day. Maybe I'm just looking for a reason to celebrate.