Yesterday was a bleak day in the Adirondacks – grey skies, a persistent, oppressive icy mist hung in the air, and dense slush covered the ground making it nearly impassable to pedestrians and vehicles alike. I had to dash over to Trampoline mid-morning, so I bundled up and made for the coffee shop for fortification. I was in and out in seconds, I clutched the warms cups of coffee and cautiously traversed the moat-like roundabout.
I felt my shoulders slumping from the cold, the muted daylight and gripping cold beginning to manifest in a foul mood, icy water lapped at my feet, cresting and sending splinters of icy wetness into my thin trouser socks. At one point my foot began to slide from underneath me and I panicked – What do I do with three near-boiling grande americanos as I go ass over tea cups? Shit. Completely by accident my foot caught on the corner of a fountain milliseconds before it would have come out from under me. Righting myself I tried to quell my trembling and soothe my rattled nerves.
“Not a very nice day for a walk, is it?” Asked the proprietor of the antique shop as he leaned against the shovel he’d been using to clear the walk.
“No, it really isn’t,” I said, wondering if my incredible windmilling to stay upright had been comical to witness.
“Well, you have a safe walk and a nice day,” he said with the clearest brightest smile I’ve ever seen on an adult.
“I will, you too,” and I gingerly made my way across more slush and then over the smooth expanse of cleared pavement in front of his shop. I smiled as I crossed the street, grateful for the human interaction. Walking toward Sean’s office another store owner stood beneath the portico of his shop, a fancifully decorated toy store. He turned my way and smiled. Using his arms to make an exaggerated gesture of a pregnant belly he called, “How are you feeling these days?”
I beamed, because despite the day, the warmth from the pinwheeling activity in my belly had been making me giggle in spite of myself all morning.
“Aw, that’s just wonderful,” he called back genuinely.
We bantered back and forth about a bed Sean and I had bought for Briar in his shop and then we bid farewell. I nearly skipped up the stairs to Sean’s office, buoyed again by the energy drawn from an unexpected and light hearted exchange. I felt a sense of belonging and gratitude; happier for having braved the elements and experiencing what I did and for living in a place where people know me, and even those who don’t will still stop to say hello. I thought of the months ahead when the farmers market will come back to town, of trips we’ll take to the library and of other hellos that will be called my way.
I breezed into the office on a swell of good cheer, passing out the still piping hot americanos and grinning. Everyone grinned back and tittered aloud as my already good mood was ratcheted up further by the “Just because everyone needs a little color in their day” flowers Sean’s partner Derek had bought for each of us.
Yesterday, a day that started out so bleak, turned into a magnificent day. It’s truly remarkable the power of a kind word, a smile, and, yes, flowers. We should remember that more often.