A NOTE…to those reading this on my website rather than in the newspaper:
Denim Spirit is a weekly column that appears each Wednesday in The Finger Lakes Times (NY. Cir. 30,000) and the references are to other local columnists
I was sitting on my bench by the lake, Rabia by my side, and started thinking about all the great writing done by local Finger Lakes Times columnists. They so often write about really important things and with such clarity and knowledge. I began to feel self-conscious about my frequent homely reflections on nature, or even the dang dog.
Michael Fitzgerald is “Write-On” about flagging support for local institutions and championing the agitators who would protect us from ourselves.
Jackie Augustine does “The Write Thing” herself, which gives her even greater credibility when she tells us what the right thing to do is in a variety of crucial decisions faced by our community and its leaders.
Abbey Sitterley, with only “Around 520 Words” picks up ordinary thoughts or words or events and expounds on them until we realize how extraordinary those ordinary things really are.
There I sat staring out onto the lake through Joe Biden aviator sunglasses feeling a bit bankrupt. It was Monday morning, my world was held by a powder blue sky framing the brilliant sun as it licked the lake with a tongue of light sparkling at the edges. When we left the house I had felt stiff and creaky and didn’t want to go very far, but Rabia prodded me to walk her down to the lake. I was rewarded with bench time. My hoodie was pulled over my Carhartt skullcap against the 32 degrees and wind. But oh, that sun surrounded by pale blue and the fierce peacock blue of Seneca Lake reflecting back those shards light. The air was crisp against my cheeks but Rabia sitting next to me was warm as she leaned in so I could put my arm around her and pet her tummy.
Okay, you see, I cannot even help myself. Sitting there I knew what I would write even though it seems so much less important than what others write. Then a little voice said, “it’s what you do.”
Suddenly I remembered a conversation last week in which someone reflected on their professional work of many decades and described it as feeling like a “calling.” Through all the struggles and difficulties of that person’s work, looking back she had a sense of moving in the current of her life instead of just plodding along or even walking upstream. Passion and joy emanated from her face at the thought of this gifted convergence of life and work into one calling over so many years. Looking out at Seneca lake with the waves shimmering diamonds of light from the far shore straight to my bench, I beheld the beauty and quietly said, “Yes.”
We all have gifts, endowments of our own natures that spring up like crocuses or even blades of grass across the ordinary lawn of days. They may be big and lush, like MLK’s oratory, or they may be small and delicate like those people in our lives who always seem to enter at just the right moment and touch us with just the right amount of generous presence. I hope you will take a moment and sit somewhere beautiful, and allow the awareness of your gifts to bubble up. Then just take a moment to give thanks.
Suzanne Martin says
Spot on as usual! You reminded me of a book I read last year by an author I follow closely….Martha Beck, The Way of Integrity. Closely aligned to your writing.
Cam Miller says
Thanks for the tip, I’ll look her up. A definition of integrity I heard once (don’t remember where) is keeping a short distance between what we say we value and how we live our lives. My Dad was a model of that kind of integrity. Good to hear from you Spear.
Todd Rubiano says
Thank you Cam – I look forward to your essay’s each week.
Feeling good about what we do; how we do it – and gratitude for what others bring to us, is so foundational to how we move through life.
Cam Miller says
Hi Todd, Amen! And have a blessed Easter!