Tonight I walked my furry elf out in the snow and I was frankly a little bit annoyed I had to take her out again. It is cold, the snow that was melting has frozen and my yard is treacherous. I have fallen taking her out at night virtually every single day. My wrists hurt from catching myself on the ice. So I was not thrilled to be doing so one hour after we had just walked around the yard.
She dragged me out into the hill behind my house and I precariously climbed onto the icy snow. Luckily she decided to not do the full walkabout and we stopped in our journey pretty quickly. I looked up at the sky and the moon and stars were so crisp and clear. Then I saw it: a trail from an airplane bisecting the blackness.
We see these exhaust echoes all the times when planes fly from the north to the south, east to the west over our heads. There are days we find them an ugly reminder of Man’s influence over Nature and the damage we cause by advancing in technology. But tonight this airplane trail was my moment of softness.
When I saw it I was instantly reminded that an airplane full of people had vanished only two days before now. I was staring at this beautiful sky bisected by plane’s marking and they were where?
Tragedies and mysteries such as these give us all moments to realize that we are small and our lives fleeting. That knowledge is terrifying and sad at the same time. However we can also chose to see these events as reminders that we need to live big. We need to notice the soft rabbit prints preserved in snow like the hands and feet at Mann’s Chinese Theater. We need to appreciate that the sky is so dark that we can see clouds, the moon, and a plane trail. We need to drink in the cold air that fills our lungs as we walk our dogs. We need to not grumble when our elves need something, the phone rings, or the laundry pile is overgrowing.
These are all moments that remind us we are alive and that just to be breathing and appreciating is the gift.
I went back outside with my phone to capture that plane trail because it suddenly seemed so beautiful to me. Ten photos later my iPhone failed to adequately show it’s magic. But I got it and a corner of my house too as a reminder that home is never to be taken for granted. (if you look carefully it’s there in the lower right side of the photo) Tonight I feel sad and heartbroken for those waiting for answers and loved ones.
Yet I also feel something beyond ordinary love for the fact that I can do something totally mundane: go outside with my dog after tucking in my elves and that it can remind me how lucky I am to be alive.
When you feel grateful even for your breath it is almost impossible to live with a shell of hardness. Gratitude for life brings softness.
Tonight make a list of ordinary moments that suddenly feel extraordinary because you are able to do them.
And the next time you see a plane trail in the sky make a wish that someone else is looking at it feeling hopeful, alive and beyond ordinary love for the gifts of just being here today.