Presence …


Christmas morning, and I have to apologize to my kids that the central air is broken. Who would have thought that? Not me, which is why in September when I noticed the air wasn’t blowing cold I figured I had more important things to worry about the next six months.

Suddenly, we’ve got baseball weather. Shorts and T-shirts. Sandals. Clammy Christmas skin. And every window in a three-story house wide open, which is just weird. If I wanted to live in Tampa, I’d live in Tampa.

But because Mother Nature taught us very long ago that we all bow to her – a little lower, knave — we carry on with the things we can control, if we are wise. Checking our gratitude meter, for instance, making sure it’s in top operating condition.

The slings and slights and insecurities of life want badly to rattle our bolts, to make us throw a rod, whatever that means. (“Threw a rod, then the engine blow’d up, Junior!”) Each day offers a walk with that darker side, which I guess could be a Star Wars reference, although believe me I am so far from a Star Wars wonk it’s not funny. I realize that temptation, but I take that walk too often anyway.

Except . . . if I just take five seconds to stare out those wide-open windows with the still-cool morning breeze wafting through, a bird cawing across the street, a big yellow lab on the living room floor impatient to go sniff and mark, brilliant kids home and asleep, health, humor and talent soothing, new love lifting, new days calling . . .

Grateful is as grateful does, Forrest. Does mama really have to keep reminding you of this?

Damn the humidity. It’s a wonderful life.