© Another Day in the Country
These days, we say to ourselves, “I just want things to get back to normal.” If we are mature adults, we should know that “normal” is a very short-lived moment in real life.
Some of us are able to maintain that normal state of being for long stretches of time. However, just about the time that life is the same day after day after day, something happens.
Sometimes that new way of being in the world, or seeing the world, is short lived. If we are paying attention, really living and growing in our lifetime, we’ll know that “normal” lasts only until we are adjusted to something. Then, little by little, things change.
It’s been pretty normal for the last two years for me to be right here in Ramona. I didn’t travel far and I didn’t see very many people.
It’s normal for me to go all day and not see a soul until my sister, Jess, comes home for supper.
It’s now normal for me to wear a mask when I’m out in public. It’s normal for me to do the same tasks every week: cook, feed the animals, make my bed, wash clothes, get the mail, clean up something, go exercise, get groceries when there’s a senior discount, teach art to my kiddos at school, and listen to “Sunday Morning” on Sunday morning.
That’s all pretty normal.
Then I got a text from my friend Norma, who lives in Idaho. This time of year, it’s normal for her to be knee deep in snow.
Isn’t it amazing how one phone call, one text message, or one careless person flying while coming down with something can change our whole trajectory in a moment?
“We are going to Mexico in March. There is an empty bed in our condo. Do you want to come?” she texted, giving me the dates: March 4 to 11.
My finger tapped out the answer: “I booked the flight! I’m coming.”
They were shocked (and so was I) that I’d made the decision so fast. They’ve invited me to travel with them the last couple of years, and I haven’t gone. Being a woman of a certain age, I was cautious.
It was rather balmy weather for Kansas when I flew out of Wichita to Cancun. The normal here was going through a cold, colder, 80 degrees, cool, and colder cycle.
After I arrived, I sent Jess a picture of my new normal. It hovered around 83 degrees every day I was there. Perfect! No wind!
There was a couple sitting beside me on the plane. They were coming to Mexico to go “birding.”
Normally, I have so many different birds in my yard and at my bird feeder in the winter that I can go birding through a window in winter or from a front porch swing in summer.
In Mexico, the birds woke me up in the morning (our windows were open) and I could watch the birds in the trees eating berries.
Normal birds for me to see in Kansas are mockingbirds, orioles, doves, fly catchers, and flickers.
I saw most of these with a Mexican twist — a little more color on one, a fancier feather design on another, a more flamboyant tail.
It struck me that those characteristics also were present in the people I encountered.
A resort environment is definitely not normal for me, but I love it. It’s normal in Ramona to see only a few cars, and sometimes they are noisy and wake you up in the night. There were no cars at this resort — only trams to take you from one lovely experience to another.
Nature dressed in brown is normal this time of year in Kansas, but in Cancun it was normal to see green, green, green against blue skies and flowers everywhere.
No one threw trash on the ground or dropped their beer cans in bushes. Even if some reckless guest did, it quickly was cleaned up.
Normal became smiling faces (with masks in place), delicious avocado, fresh fruit, and yummy salsa.
Normal for every day was coffee on a terrace while the birds sang and we laughed, remembering all the good times we’ve had as friends through the years.
I’ve had 60-plus years of friendship with these people. Isn’t it grand for that to be normal?
I’ve traveled with them on vacations, watched their family grow up, attended weddings and funerals of their relatives. They’ve done the same for me.
No matter where we are in the world, we’ve kept in touch. We’ve watched normal change for ourselves and our environment.
Normally, Gary is (was) a history teacher, and he told me the story of asking his students this question: “In life, would you rather be lucky or good at what you do?”
It was just another day in the country, and I asked him that question. He laughed and said, “Lucky, Pat. Look where we are!”