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Report From PIA – March 16

In my post two days ago I suggested that one way to find meaning in our everyday experiences is to look for the gems in daily life. Today I decided to take my own advice. I have a nasty head cold and feel like aliens have invaded my body. Not only did I not sleep much last night and used an entire box of tissues in the first part of the day, but I’m pissed off because this is the third virus I’ve gotten in the past six months.

So I took The Dog to a conservation area for a long walk figuring that after three stormy days, he needed the exercise and I would benefit from a “treasure hunt.” As we walked on the trails around the pond I looked around the woods and asked, “Show me what’s here, in this day, that’s of benefit for me.”

The first thing that jumped out at me was a group of older white pines. They had many old, dead branches sticking out of the bottom two thirds of their trunks. These stubs created a twiggy ladder, a route upward toward the fresh foliage and the sky. “It doesn’t matter how many dead ends you encounter,” they say to me, “or how far you have to climb. Above all is new growth.”

After leaving the woods I stopped at the grocery store, and once again found treasure. I filled the cart with what I needed, and went to check out. Since I felt very depleted by this virus I couldn’t face the self-checkout isle and the automated voice telling me to “move your item to the belt.”

Other than asking me for my Stop and Shop card, the cashier barely acknowledged my existence. The man who was bagging, however, greeted me cheerfully and made a joke about my reusable bags. I teased him back, and we chatted while he loaded my groceries in the totes.

Here was the second gift of the day, I thought. Two young men, doing fairly boring jobs, but each approached the work with a completely different attitude. The bagger made a direct, human connection with me, and approached his task with energy and joy. The cashier did not.

Points taken, and treasure found. I may have a cold, but I can choose my attitude, and keep climbing upward.

The older white pines remind me that there are dead ends and obstacles (head colds) everywhere, but it's possible to focus upward.

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