a small, good thing

 “You probably need to eat something,” the baker said. “I hope you’ll eat some of my hot rolls. You have to eat and keep going. Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this,” he said.


Working to change your current direction and accompanying mindset is a project.  A work in progress.  Sometimes there are setbacks.  Sometimes there is forward movement.  Not every day will be a good one.  Part of treating it this way is being ok with having bad days.  Realizing it for what it is.  Moving forward.  

Those times call for backing away.  Stepping back from the work and gaining perspective.  

Terribly cliché.

Horribly necessary.

Today I’m having a bad day.

crescent donuts

Night time in the late fall and early winter is beautiful.  The air is so crisp at times, burning  your lungs.  A wind can eat right through the combined layers of shirts, sweatshirts, down. A wool hat pulled tight wants to ride up over your ears as they grow even pinker.

 These nights beg for late slow aimless cruises by bicycle.  

The sky is amazingly clear.  The lights of a small midwestern college town do not overwhelm the stars like the coastal cities back east.  The air is cleaner.  Allowing for crisp clarity of vision.  It is not the starry endless night of the desert or mountains.  

But there are still so very, very many of them to see.  

A long aimless ride.  Toes cold.  Curled into woolen socks, tucked inside old sneakers.  Legs pumping slowly.  Rhythmically.  Trying to stay focused but loose.  Allowing that cold air to fully pull you in and wrap around you.  Watching light after burning front porch light fall away behind.

Warm homes.  

Cold houses.  

A wrong way down the one way past the cemetery.  

Out of the neighborhoods through empty parking lots by warehouses.

The glow is the donut shop.  It is warm and inviting.  Twenty-four hours.  

back home, at night,  you could always drive down towards the beach to the lighthouse.

In winter you could sit down there in your car.  

Heat cranked.  

Window half down.  


The crashing rhythm of waves.  Over and over against the shore.

The gentle sweep of the lighthouse beacon passing out and over the crests of frigid winter waves along the New England coast.

The amazingly dense darkness of night over the ocean.  


Here I find the glow of big full bright windows fogged up with heat from so many ovens baking.  

Frozen gloved fingers trying to work out bike lock and keys.  

Inside, the smell of dough and coffee and frosting is as much tangible as salt spray and winter wind.

The comfort of childhood associated with early winter morning trips with dad before work. 

Oh, it is home this smell.  

Small hot chocolate.  Chocolate frosted and cream filled donut.  

A counter just like every other counter at every other small town donut shop everywhere.  Music from the back.  Machine noise and warm dough and bakers voices.  

This small midwestern oasis, with its beacon passing gently out over my waves, warms me.   

This small good thing, with its frosted windows and neon sign, beckons me.  

I can sit here.  Warm myself, inside and out.  Take deep warm breaths.   Slow down my head.  Listen to the music.  Smell the dough.  Exchange kind small talk.  

Allow my heart room to breathe. 

This is stepping back.


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