What is the shape of your best day? Mine starts on the dark side of 5 am, when I wake, look at my watch, and decide go back to sleep. Hours later, in the gray gloaming, I wake again, and reach for my book. There is no hurry. Breakfast will wait.
When I get up on my best day, I put on water for tea and turn on the oven. I mix eggs, milk, and flour. I melt half a stick of butter in a skillet and pour in the batter. While the pancake rises, I sauté sliced apples in butter. I only burn a few.
On my best day, I go back to bed after breakfast. I curl up by the window and read until noon. I finish one book and start another. The clouds thin to pale blue. The sunshine climbs over me till I’m all in light.
Later, I go for a long walk. The snow is soft and reaches a few inches shy of my boot tops. I walk along the river, under black cottonwoods and alders, and the occasional ponderosa. The willow thickets are deep red. I listen to the water and watch my feet. There are tracks crisscrossing the snow in all directions. I follow a river otter’s tracks for a while till I come out onto the cobbled riverbank. Then I follow a deer. I see neither otter nor deer, but many birds. The great horned owl is asleep in her cottonwood snag, or at least, I think she’s asleep. She is exactly the same brown-gray as the bark, and I see no hint of yellow eyes.
On my best day I make hot chocolate and take my mug and a book out onto the porch to catch the last of the light. I fold a blanket around my legs, like an invalid in one of the old, upright British novels I used to love so well. I read until the light begins to fade. Or maybe I just sit and watch the trees and the whitening sky. It doesn’t matter. This is my day to do with as I please.
When darkness folds around the house at the end of my best day, I am inside where it is warm and bright. Tomorrow, perhaps, I will think of obligations, but tonight I am full on stories and sunshine and good food. There is no space left for work or worries. Steam rises from the mug in my hand, smelling of mint and chamomile. I sit back to watch the fire. This is the shape of my best day.
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