You wake up about 6:15 a.m., feeling ursine under your woolen blankets and engaging in one of your daily debates on winter mornings: Do I remain in hibernation? Or get out of this warm bed and face the cold world? You do the latter--though today is not necessarily like other days, those days when hibernation wins.
You stagger over to the indoor-outdoor thermometer, which reads 5.6 F, knowing that it's probably even colder than that because your thermometer frequently lies. So you continue with your stagger, back to the back room, where Joyce is already up, preparing to head out to the health club. Your admiration soars (again) as you see her determination.
You stagger downstairs, where you unload the dishwasher, plug in your iPhone for a bit of a charge, set aside a frozen scone to take with you to the coffee shop, adjust your three manual (i.e., unreliable) wind-up clocks, stagger back upstairs, stagger into the shower, which greets you warmly. You warmly stagger into the bedroom, where Joyce has been waiting to help you make the bed. (True love, my friends. True Love.)
You dress, check your computer and Quicken. You zap your scone in the microwave. You put on your warmest winter coat, wrap your face with your old Western Reserve Academy scarf, put the warm scone in one pocket, your morning calcium supplement in the other. You remove your glasses and put them in the latter pocket (otherwise, they will frost thickly during your quarter-mile walk for coffee.) You hurl your backpack onto your back, and you step out into the Arctic, remembering (this time) to lock the door behind you. After about three steps, you think about Jack London's "To Build a Fire"--and wonder what-in-the-hell you are doing outdoors in the darkness, in the polar air.
You walk--slowly, slowly (some ice lingers from a small snowfall yesterday)--over to Open Door Coffee Co., silently reciting a couple of poems you recently memorized--"Kubla Khan" (Coleridge) and "Good-Night" (Shelley). Use it or lose it.
Traffic does not cooperate with you this morning as you stand at the crosswalk on Main Street. Cars roar by, forcing you to stand there and wait for (a) someone nice, (b) space and time to cross. The former fails to appear, so you wait for the latter.
When you arrive, one of the owners greets you with a sardonic comment: Go home! You laugh. He calls you brave. You reply that there is only a wee difference between brave and being stupid.
You get your coffee, nibble away at your scone while reading the New York Times on your Kindle. You check your email (not much these days) and Facebook (a couple of comments await you).
Then you read 50 pages of the next novel by Richard Ford (you are reading your way through all of his work), The Lay of the Land his third novel about Frank Bascombe (and narrated by him). You then read 25 pages of The Private Lives of the Tudors, a book you're just starting today. Every 20 pages you stop, check your email and Facebook. Not much for you to do. You do get a nice email from the young teacher who took over for you when you retired from Harmon Middle School 20 years ago this month. He says he just finished teaching The Call of the Wild--and thought about you.
About 9:30 you head back out. It's sunny. But bitter. At home, you realize that on your earlier trip you dropped a holiday card you meant to mail (you know, you know: It's late for holiday cards). You talk with your wife, back from the health club, looking fit and virtuous.
You head out to the kitchen and bake a fresh batch of maple-pecan scones, using local maple syrup. You head to your study, smelling the scones more and more as they bake, waiting for the buzzer to tell you It's time!
You write your weekly letter to a dear former teaching colleague, now in an assisted-living facility in Kent. He doesn't use computer or social media or smart-phones, so you write old-fashioned snail-mail to him.
You start a blog post--this one.
And you think about the rest of the day. Lunch with Joyce. Back to the coffee shop for your afternoon's caffeine fix. Your subsequent major decision: Do I go to the health club now? Or take a nice warm nap? The former has won all week ... will it win today? You decide not to think about it. Instead, you just enjoy the smell of the scones and wonder if you'll be able to resist eating one when it emerges from the oven.
And you feel, again, a surge of gratitude for all ...