Ruminations from Up North

Snowing at the cabin. Fire in the wood stove. All kinds of quiet both inside and out. All good ingredients for a productive night of musing. I write an outdoors column for a small newspaper in northern Wisconsin, but this month I took a flyer and followed some thoughts on days past and those we live in now....

Where Did The Day Go?

  Chances are you have heard that phrase expressed by a harried coworker or exhausted parent, and you are likely one or both of those people. We stumble headlong through hectic days of job demands, kid activities, family commitments and outings, and in the span of a blink it’s dinner and bedtime. There always seems more to do and not enough hours. “Not enough hours in the day,” my dad often said, when we were hauling a fourth load of logs out of the woods and I thought there were plenty of hours, thank you, practically sleepwalking back to the house.

  What if we knew where the days went? What if there was a repository of days we could walk into, and revisit those that have passed?  I asked a friend this question and we both agreed we’d like to know where that place is. We talked about what we might do if we could make an adjustment or two to some of those days, perhaps amend a regret or do something longer or say something different or say it twice. In this month of giving thanks, we talked about what was and what is to come.

  Replay. I think most of us have an abundance of days or memories we are fond of, and that’s a good thing. Wouldn’t it be great to fly again triumphantly through the unfettered joy of a few of those times? Kind of like playing your favorite song over and over, singing, living, being a little louder every time.

  Fast forward. Jump ahead to a good part, where you were winning, when you learned to ride a bike, when you taught your child to ride one, when you celebrated or danced or listened to a loon call on a moonlit, summer night. Leap past a bad part, when it hurt too much and the tears were too many, when you stumbled and fell, when that time didn’t work out like you wanted it to.

  Choose a moment. Say that thing you wish you would have, when you had the chance. Keep quiet when you didn’t.  Hug, kiss, shout it out.

  Go to that place, the one you wanted to be in, just a little earlier. To make things right.

To be there when you were wanted.

To help when you were needed.

To love when you could have.

  Erase one minute or ten or an hour. There were times of guilt, of shame, that we might wish did not happen. Times of debilitating sadness or red hot anger that brought us down. Would you erase an entire day, though, even a bad one? I am not sure I would. We have so few of them; even the rough ones have slivers of hope.

  I would go to this house of days, if it were there. I would change what I could to make more laughs than tears. But right now there is today. Follow where it leads, embrace what comes. Hug your kids. Find that person and say it. Believe in that promise. Go to that place and do. 

What will you do with your day?