The weather was incredible yesterday. Being outdoors was an indulgence. After an enjoyable slow morning with three of my kids, we ate lunch and then I cleaned up our living room, hung the Christmas stockings by the fireplace and went outdoors to rake up leaves and haul off branches.
A recent ice storm here deposited some of our neighbors pine tree branches with pinecones into our side yard. I laughed, thinking about the first year I did this Come Thou Long Expected Advent experience. I remember going to Walmart and asking a man in the garden center if they had any leftover pine from the Christmas trees that I could use for decoration. This year, the trees delivered their boughs directly to me, and I scooped them up with glee and trimming them up so I could arrange them around our hearth.
The yard work took longer than I had expected, which wouldn't have been a problem but once again I had a desire to pack more into this "free" day than was going to be possible. At one point while I was standing on a step-stool rehanging the prayer flags that had fallen in the storm, I noticed the electrical outlet on our back porch and in the spirit of indulgence and enjoying myself in the moment, I brought our radio out of the garage, plugged it in on the back porch and turned up the classical Christmas music from my recently found favorite radio station. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch was playing. The sun on my face and hands and neck, the crisp breeze in the shade, the crunch of leaves and the sound of beautiful music all around me. It was nice.
While sweeping off the back porch with a broom, I came across a dead ladybug. It was so tiny in the midst of my "great big project," that it felt like a gift. Something of manageable size. I decided I would paint it as my symbol for indulge because in the midst of big messes little indulgences always appear to help me through. (Like Cinderella's little mice friends.) I laid the lady bug on a patio table and went back to working.
I found my Buddha statue (which had already been broken in two pieces a couple years ago) dismembered and lying under a pile of leaves. "You poor thing," I said. "I have just the place for you."
I walked him to the front of the house and arranged the dirt so dismembered Buddha could be balanced enough to look properly put together. I really like that my Buddha has a giant crack in him. He seemed happy there in the front, and it made the entrance to our home look more peaceful and inviting and safe.
Creatinglittle pockets of beauty around my home yesterday felt indulgent, especially since I had a yard of leaves I was supposed to be cleaning up. I told myself, I don't have to get it all done today. I can clean up one corner of the yard at a time. Besides, the other two corners still have trees that are dropping leaves. No sense doing it twice. I had cleaned up the front yard and the side yard and one corner (the Buddha corner) of the backyard. That felt like a win for the day, and I still had time to make it to the library before it closed.
In a haze of wrapping up my clean-up for the day, I folded up the patio table, forgetting all about the fact that I had laid my ladybug there. It wasn't until late in the evening last night, after dinner had been eaten and cleaned up and I was ready to paint, that I realized, I had lost my lady bug when I folded up the table. I turned on the back porch light and looked for the little bug, but to no avail.
"Well, great. Now what will I do?" I thought.
I came back in the house and was pouring myself a glass of water when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. A bug was flying around our dining room light. As I got closer it landed on the light and I noticed that it was a ladybug! I scooped it up and laid it on the table to get a few photos.
In the clean and freshly decorated living room. I painted my ladybug while we watched The Goonies (our family's Advent activity of the day). There was a lot of work involved in the indulgence of my day, and I was savoring it with every brush stroke.