Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Winter Lemonade

The calendar has turned and not a single one of creation’s four-legged or winged creatures cares. It’s only us big-brained bi-peds that need to invest this day with more meaning that the day before or after. I, for example, wanted the day to announce the possibilities of the next 364 like the opening theme of a grand symphony, an intentional and enticing melody that would keep singing throughout the year. And so I stepped into my thread-worn Zen robes and chanted a full sutra book, much to the annoyance of my wife who was trying to sleep late. Won my opening ritual Solitaire game, re-wrote a section in my emerging book, played Bach Partitas on the piano. It was an auspicious start.

And then things took a dubious turn. A call from school about an unexpected schedule change that would mean either missing the opening day of school next Fall or cancelling my summer course. Finding my bike’s tire flat again after just getting it fixed. Walking it to the bike store that my wife said was open (she had checked online) and finding it closed. These were not good signs.

Humans from time immemorial have recognized that we’re not exactly in control and look for signs or omens from the gods, seek advice from the alignment of the stars. We ask for apples and get lemons and are worried that we have fallen out of favor with the fruit deities. All fine and well, but at the end of the day, it’s the decision to make lemonade that makes the difference.

So with the plan for a New Year’s Day bike ride thwarted, I suggested a walk through the city to see the movie about Ruth Bader Ginsburg On the Basis of Sex. My wife agreed and off we went for a brisk hike on a sunny winter-chilled day through our still-beautiful San Francisco. 90 minutes later, we realized we needed to find a bus to make it on time and one came along just at the right time. Worried about seats in the theater, we found two left that were perfect. The movie was excellent and afterwards, we steeled ourselves for the usual frustrating long wait for the N-Judah Streetcar. It came in one minute. Things were looking good!

An evening searching for jazz tunes to teach to my upcoming 8th grade classes and a few more passes at the Partita. I came up with a plan B for the school dilemma and I’ll get my flat fixed tomorrow. Before sleep, one more pass at my project of rememorizing Keats difficult poem “A thing of beauty is a joy forever…” and almost got it. Though not the preferred drink on a cold night, my glass of winter lemonade proved refreshing after all and I turn to the New Year with grand hopes intact.

May we all drink cups of kindness—be it hot tea or lemonade—in the days to follow.

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