So far, 2014 has not exactly been a happy new year. For me, it has begun with a battle against a miserable chest cold that crept up on me on New Year’s Eve morning and is just now starting to release its grip. As a result, I’ve been spending a lot of time napping and keeping very still which, for me, is not typical behavior.
“I never get sick!” I found myself, in a wave of self pity and in between bouts of lung-rupturing coughing spells, thinking these very words.
Not true. I do get sick, although rarely. I got sick this week. So, why am I tempted to think or speak this way?
(It reminds me of something George Carlin once said: “There’s a lot of things you never see. And you know you don’t see them ’cause you don’t see them. You’ve got to see something first to know you never saw it, then you see it and say ‘Hey, I never saw that.’ Too late; you just saw it.”)
“I’ll never be a winter person.” I’ve certainly uttered these words more than once, and the thought crossed my mind during these past few days as over a dozen new inches of snowfall blanketed the front yard.
But look at the photo at the top of this post. As I sat down to start writing this post on Friday afternoon, Shawn sent me this picture from the top of Cranmore Mountain, where he had been snowboarding most of the day.
Absolutely stunning, isn’t it?
And here’s another great shot:
Taken by yours truly… on a recent snowshoe outing. Yes. You read that right. I, who have long eschewed the practice of celebrating the winter months in any fashion, have finally decided to try my best to embrace these cold, short days as much as I can. (Besides – what choice do I have?)
I really didn’t believe I would become a convert (although the conversion, admittedly, is far from complete) but I must say: the stillness in the beauty that I found in the woods just a couple hundred yards behind my home was beyond compare.
Language always give you away. It indicates intention, emotion, direction. The word “never“ can set an appointment with an attitude of hopelessness or unwillingness. It can close you off from experiences. “I’ll never be happy” is a hopeless stance. Those are words I’ve certainly said in my life – but certainly not in recent years. And a stubborn unwillingness can be a good thing. “I’ll never drink again” is a statement that I can make pretty confidently (or perhaps it’s better to say “I’m committed to staying sober”).
“I’ll never understand…” such and such. Well, why not try to understand? Whatever it is?
The present moment is all I’ve got – “never” is in the future. My hope is to try and stay positive, stay open to new experiences, try to steer clear of the negative power and finality of the word “never”. But if I falter… “You’ll never hear the end of it.” Ha! Did your parents ever say that to you? 🙂