Wednesdays are garbage days in my neighborhood. The more diligent among us haul their trash cans out the night before, so when we awake, they glisten with frost and become, oddly, beautiful. The rest of us, those who can’t bear the thought of one more thing to do at the end of a long day I suppose, get up and haul the cans out early in the morning. Ours join the rows of detritus lining sidewalks, a miniature army that speaks of tidiness, health, and, of course, consumption.

This morning I woke late, a glorious part of my teaching schedule this semester – no classes on the day before Thanksgiving – and hurried down to FIRST make coffee and then carry out the garbage. I opened the blinds that had been glowing gold with sunshine and saw a perfect fall day. Utterly blue and pristine sky, honey sunlight, and the tingle of cold. And luckily, I hadn’t slept through the garbage truck’s arrival.

So I pulled on shoes, opened the back door, and grabbed the trashcan that I have to haul through the house since I live in a row of adjoined townhouses and am too lazy to walk around the entire row lugging my garbage. I trotted to the front door, unlocked it, and stepped out. Dropping the garbage on the sidewalk, I paused. And breathed. Breathed. Breathed.

The air this morning is what the word “bracing” was created for. It lights your lips, spins down your throat, and catches your lungs with a bright force that leaves you bigger than you were before. It’s like my lungs bloomed in my chest, an irony since the air was cold. But in that moment, I decided that today will be a good day. (Then, I decided I should go back inside because I was standing there, head lifted, on my sidewalk – in my pjs.)

Sometimes I think it’s simple decisions like that on which the whole world spins. Will today be a good day or a bad one? Will I decide to see beauty or ugliness? Will I decide to talk to that person who makes me nuts or will I hurt them with words, or actions, or bombs? Will I decide to be kind or resentful? Will I smile or grimace?

So today, as I wait for my parents to arrive, I am content and pleased. And ready to go for a walk in that cold air. Off I go.

(On a side note, does anyone know the word that means “things standing in rows” that I’m trying to spell correctly? It thought it was “eschelon,” but I”m getting nothing. Ideas?) \"Sunset Farm\" by D L Ennis – “Sunset Farm” by D L Ennis
If you like D L’s work, visit his site; he’s having a great deal on his prints for the holidays.