In Minnesota, snow can be inevitable. Last winter, I remember shoveling a particularly heavy snow one afternoon from front walk, really feeling defeated by a winter that dragged on. I looked to the house with tears in my eyes and said to myself, “Look upon the house one last time, Jody, because you’re selling it and moving to a beach where it never snows.” And just then, my neighbor showed up with her snow blower and finished my walk, then dug out my driveway as I wildly gestured my gratitude through mummy layers of scarf, hat, gloves. Then, with new tears, I said to myself, “This is why I live here.”photo-2

There are moments in life when you soar with the eagles. And there are times when you feel like you’re looking up from the bottom of a well. On well-bottom days, I think about the joy of that snow-blower rescue. In addition, I made an eclectic list of reminders to lift me up whenever I need it. Here’s part of it:

  • Sometimes my mom calls me up just to tell me to eat more chocolate.
  • The first thing my 2-year-old nephew does when he wakes from a nap, despite our encouragement for him to talk to us, is to look at us sleepy-eyed as if we’re aliens. Then he says hello to the dog as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.
  • I’m usually wearing a bracelet and a necklace that my friend Johanna made for me.
  • I’m reminded daily by my cat and dog that they allow me to live with them.

The population of my life, from family to friends to employers to coworkers to my furry roommates, includes people who are kind, brilliant, talented, open-hearted, generous, full of life, and all know how to laugh, even at the mistakes. Everything hinges on this, on knowing that a door that swings closed also swings open. Simple directional movement. Perspective. Hitting the bottom of the well allows you to properly remember all the good.

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