Rituals are comforting. Winter in Maine is full of rituals, and I have come to see them as reassuring. If I were younger, these daily tasks and predictable chores might seem annoying and boring; but at this time I find them a consolation for enduring the dark, cold, bitter Winter days.
Each morning as we layer on clothing and prepare breakfast, there are birds and squirrels to be fed. My man puts on the necessary sweaters and hats and boots, and ventures forth, cups full of seeds in hand, and doles out the first of several buffet rounds for our furry and feathered pals.
I am in the kitchen, cooking oatmeal while watching out the windows to see who arrives first at the Maple Tree Smorgasbord. After breakfast it is time for a brief dose of what I now call “death, destruction, and division”….the headlines of the morning news. Two or three minutes in, and I can take no more, so I head for the warmth and escape of the shower.
As the day progresses there are meals to prepare, for both dog and humans. There are cleaning chores, shoveling, trips to the market, and as always.. laundry. There are at least two or three phone calls I must make to check on various family members and friends. I have my online business to take care of, and He has archeological work to organize. I have Writing to do, and He has Art to create.
When the afternoon sun reaches West, we slow down activity and watch the late comers feed on the deck. After dinner we unwind with an old sitcom and Jeopardy, keeping those Geezer neurons firing at top speed.
If I had read this ritual recitation at twenty-five, I would have yawned, laughed, and said ” How boring. They should get a Life”. But at sixty-eight, I have come to realize what is important: We need to nurture our most important relationships with those we love. We should try to improve our corner of the World in whatever small and kinds ways we can. We should do something that feeds our Souls every single day.
Often I think of the Zen Buddhist quote: ” Before Enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After Enlightenment, chop wood and carry water”.
Rituals are an acquired taste. Rituals are comforting.