Friday, October 19, 2012

One Perfect Day

One Perfect Day. It's not a day when a winning lottery ticket falls out of the sky, or a movie star appears out of nowhere to sweep you away, or you get that big promotion you've been waiting for. It's a day comprised of small moments that you take the time to see clearly, to appreciate as they're happening, to savor in your memory when they're gone. Nothing spectacular has to happen on a perfect day, you just have to notice that everything you usually take for granted is, in fact, amazing.

My life is filled with perfect days, but sometimes I'm too harried to notice them. Sometimes I'm the Busy Person that this blog post addresses so well (I'm somewhat embarassed  to admit that a friend sent me a link to this post and it took me several days to get around to reading it guessed it... I was too busy!). Yesterday I slowed down enough to notice, to appreciate, to savor. And even to document on my cell phone.

First, what's breakfast without some Emoticon Pancakes? These weren't created with any sort of intention, the faces just appeared in the pancakes like magic. There's a flaw in our cast-iron pan that caused my daughter to flip these fun little pancakes, each one cuter than the last.

As the sun peeped out from behind the early morning valley fog, my son and I went out to pick the remaining apples off of our trees to be made into fruit leather and apple sauce. He and I took a moment and sat in the sunshine with a freshly plucked bright red apple in hand. Biting into that crisp fall-flavored fruit, feeling the sun slanting in from the south on our necks, we talked about what it would be like to have been born somewhere without seasons. I know there will come a time when winter's rain will seem endless and I'll yearn for the spring, but I also love the turn of the year here in the northwest when nothing is the same for long. The cold brings on the apples, plums, and fall fruit. The rain brings the greenery that makes this place so beautiful the rest of the year.

So then why not head out on one of fall's last spectacular days along the winding back roads of the south hills of the Willamette Valley. It was a bit chilly here in the forested parts, and I was really grateful for my convertible jacket with the zip-off sleeves. This time of year each bike ride brings another layer of clothing you have to add. First the vest, then the jacket, then tights, earwarmers, and full gloves. Eventually, I retreat into the pain cave with some hardcore biking videos from The Sufferfest and maybe a season or two of Dexter and wait out the chilling rains until spring makes the outdoors palatable again. This time of year, every ride in the sunshine is a blessing.

As I broke out into wine country, I was treated to the golden-hued vines of Sweet Cheeks and Hinman vineyards. I have to admit, I didn't shoot this gorgeous shot with my cell phone (I thought about trying, but decided it wouldn't be a good idea to tromp up the hill in my cycling shoes). This came off of their website. But this is what it looked like out there: fall sunlight on the golden leaves of the grape vines. I've bicycled hundreds of miles in Italy and thousands here and I can tell you that Oregon holds its own with some of the most beautiful scenery on earth.

What could possibly top such a gorgeous day, but an evening spent downing a pint with my mates while watching the Ducks stomp the Sun Devils - the Aquaducks had an informal get together at a local pub with some big screens and a Duck-happy crowd. The final chapter was then taking my son to hear Beethoven's 5th performed by the Eugene Symphony. This iconic music deserves to be heard as it literally is brought to life by the orchestra. The energy of the conductor, the motion of the bows on strings, the tympany rolling from the back of the stage, and that perfect moment in the first movement when all the sound and fury dies down and one lone oboe calls out - my arms erupting in goose bumps.

As I came home to my house, redolent with the smell of the plum/apple fruit leather in the dehydrator and applesauce in the crockpot, I washed my face and climbed under the down comforter, snuggled my pillow-stealing dog next to me and closed my eyes on a perfect day.

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