Where to Begin?



Today is my day off.

It lies before me, a broad landscape with endless possibilities.

An unblemished apple.

A bag of coins to spend however I choose.

Where do I start?

No alarm this morning, I sleep until the little dog nuzzles me awake.

A perfect cup of coffee, then, to be savored as I plot my day.

I have a list of things I need to do. Housekeeping chores, of course. Shall I wash clothes and hope the weather clears so that I can hang them on the clothesline…or plan to spend the afternoon at the laundromat? I have letters to write and bills to pay.  I stewed the last of the tomatoes last night; they have to be processed today. I need to flesh out my plans for the after-school art class, and make examples to illustrate the project.

I have a list of things I’d like to accomplish, if I have time. This includes things like mending, rearranging and minor repairs. I want to bake bread today. I’ve got a swatch of nice fabric to re-cover the seat of my desk chair. I’m still in the middle of the major re-organizing project that I started two weeks ago. The studio needs to be put in order so that actual studio work can happen there. This week I also have a suitcase full of clothes – “hand-me-downs” from my sister, Brenda – that need to be put away. Since I’ve promised myself that for everything I bring in to this house, I will let something go (because otherwise “enough” quickly becomes “too much”), that entails going through what I have in closet and dresser, and weeding out what I no longer wear. While I’m at it, I’d might as well pack up the  warm weather clothes for storage and bring out the winter sweaters. And oh, glory be, if I could take the time to hem the four pair of slacks that are useless to me until it’s done, it would be a great day!

Then there is the list of “should”s. These are things that are good for my body or good for my soul: study, read, write, draw, exercise, meditate. They should be my first consideration, I know, but the benefits – or lack thereof – are not as immediate as a messy desk, unpaid bills or having no clean socks. Too often, these are squeezed into breaks or rest periods between other tasks…or they are put off until last…or neglected completely.

The moments rush past – they always do – turning into hours and then this precious day is gone.

Last night we had our first snow of the season. Our warm, lingering Autumn is quickly turning bitter. Though the snow didn’t last, clearly Winter will be here before we know it.

This morning, trying to slow down and savor this time before it’s gone, I started my day with a walk in the woods.




About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

16 responses »

  1. A walk in the woods is a precious thing. I am glad you were able to accomplish this. The “shoulds” get us every time, don’t they? I am battling my own shoulds today. Hoping some day to cease the battle, but it’s still arising. Your writing is lovely.

    • You know, Kathy, I meant to write about the “ought-to”s, too, and then forgot. I’m best at them. “This is my only day off, I ought to just sit here and drink coffee and surf the internet all day”; “I ought to lay down on that couch where the sun is shining in and get a good nap”; “I ought to just finish the book I’m in the middle of, so I quit wondering how it all comes out.” Too often, in my life, the “ought-to”s trump the “have-to”s, the “want-to”s AND the “should”s…which is why one day off is never enough! Thank you for reading, and for your kind comments!

  2. Good choice! I’ve pretty much done my ‘shoulds’ for the day and got in an hour and a half’s painting time! No frost or snow in NW CT, yet, but people west of and north west of me have gotten frost and/or snow. The pressure is on…. It’ll be here soon enough…. Need to button-up my garden for winter and bring in the houseplants! Hope you had some time to draw!

    • Oh, good for you for being so productive! With yesterday being rainy off and on all day, I didn’t even have to consider the long list of outside chores waiting for my attention! I managed a couple hours of studio time before the day was over. Thanks for reading, and for your comments!

    • A walk in the woods makes me AND the dogs happy, and that’s a great beginning. It seems I don’t resent the chores as much if I’ve done something good for myself to start. Thanks for reading, Claire, and for your comments!

    • We have to grab those moments for ourselves, don’t we? As it rained off and on for most of the day, I felt very satisfied at having gotten in a pleasant walk in the morning! Thanks for reading, Laurie, and for your comments!

    • It does seem like a day off should not have so many things to fill it, doesn’t it? I manage to work through what I need to; I’m pretty good at trading off and procrastinating, too! The walk was lovely, and a great start to the day! Thanks for reading, Kathy, and for your comments!

    • As it rained for most of the rest of the day, I definitely chose the right time to go walking! I never get everything done that I want to, but that’s okay, too. Thanks for reading, Kate, and for your comments!

  3. I totally get it. I think your decision to start the day out with a walk was a wise one. No matter what you did or didn’t do, I hope you enjoyed your day off.

  4. what a great way to begin your day, with a walk in the woods. Somehow the woods put everything into perspective and settle down all the energy that urges us to do this and that and oh yeah, that too. May your day be truly blessed.

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