Black and White

On Monday, my husband and I flew home from a weekend in Florida. The pilot announced that we would soon be landing in Philadelphia and I looked out the window to watch the land rise up to meet us. The river and the roads cut black lines through the unending white that stretched in all directions as far as I could see. A black and white rendering of the land where we live. The pale blue of a water tower and the burnished red of a barn were muted, unable to compete with the stark landscape. The snow stalled life last week, keeping me home from work, the kids home from school and my husband away. I felt a different sense of wonder with this snow. This time I felt the nervous sense of the power of nature. Power was down in my neighborhood, branches fell from trees. I still appreciated the forced slowdown of our busy lives but the shoveling was daunting. Our backyard looks like an Olympic mogul field because we ran out places to shovel the snow from our driveway. It took days to dig out, both figuratively and literally and it's only today, a week later, that I feel that I've caught up.

On the heels of that storm, I was lucky to get away for the weekend, even luckier to have a sitter to stay with the kids. As you probably know, Florida had experienced the coldest winter in memory and Key Biscayne was no stranger so I wasn't on the beach but everything was green, there was no snow and that was enough for me.

Since my husband was attending a conference, I took advantage of the alone time to catch up on reading and spend some time writing. On Sunday morning, I stood before the hostess with a book in hand and felt a quiver of excitement as I smiled and said, "Table for one, please."

There are few things as luxurious to me as a brand new book and hours of unscheduled time. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy my time with my family but when it comes to luxury - I love a good book and no demands. Besides, things aren't usually as clear as the black road cutting through the white snow, right? As Walt Whitman said in Song of Myself: "Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

What is luxurious for you? What do you love to do when there's no laundry calling, no meals to be made, no demands on your time?