same old beauty

When people ask “What are your weekend plans?” I generally have nothing much to say, no special activity or event to report. On Saturday morning we go to Shoprite with V and his bt (behavior technician) J, who is very good with V and brings terms like “tools for adulthood” to life… as something so simple as grocery shopping is not so simple for us. There’s the preparation: making a list, making sure we are wearing shoes. Then getting in the car and driving to the store, bringing in reusable bags and getting a cart and then pushing that cart through the store, stopping along the way. Red peppers? Find them in the produce section; get a bag and open it; place two peppers inside; tie a knot in the bag and put it in the cart. And so on, a multi-pronged exercise with each item on the list. And then there’s waiting in line and emptying the cart, putting the items on the conveyor belt, saying hello to the cashier and bagger (and handing him or her the bags). Something so basic is really complex when you break it down, all the more so when you have challenges navigating the world.

We get home and J leaves and we have the rest of the day to ourselves. It’s a lot of time to fill and yet we do. At some point we go out for a walk around the lake if we’re lucky. J comes again Sunday morning and the day is much of a repeat of the day before. J and V spend a few hours together. This past Sunday they made banana bread. The whole house smelled amazing. Since V is still just indoors I’ve been going out in the yard on my own, sitting in my favorite chair or the hammock and reading, enjoying the perfect weather. Later we went back around the lake.

Yup, weekends are much the same and not very exciting and yet in that sameness is much beauty. Walking around the lake really is the highlight of the day. Like “shopping”, “walking” encompasses more than that one word. It is movement and passing other people and dogs and other creatures like the geese and ducks that are everywhere on and beside the lake. It’s a magnificently designed and landscaped public park that I am very grateful to have nearby. This past weekend I took photos to capture some of it, to appreciate rather than lament that we don’t go out anywhere new or do anything more interesting. This routine is what works for now and as T says on almost every walk, “This is the most beautiful park!” If V won’t go out in the yard or for our neighborhood walks anymore at least we have this little pocket of paradise.

And there is something to be said for the ritual and comfort of routines, especially when they involve such swaths of bright green and blue as these last weeks have given us. And given the continued way the world, or at least our very troubled country, is going – there’s a new massacre to absorb almost every day it seems, and it’s with a heavy heart that I approach the news nowadays – I’ll take the sameness over the scary unknown for the moment.

I let the park and the gorgeous little lake console me from all the grief and dread out there in the bigger world. And I accept that the question what did you do this weekend doesn’t have much of an answer to it. Which given the alternatives is fine by me. I’m grateful to have the same old beauty.

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