I went to the hair stylist first thing this morning. My hair is usually a shade of reddish brown with blond highlights. As winter encroaches and thickens and the dark days grow shorter my hair gets darker, so dark that people sometimes ask me if I colored my hair to make it darker. I am not much of a make-up person, or at least I guess I never was, but for once I decided that just a couple highlights in my hair might be an improvement. I feel like I have sold out. But they look good, and the color is perfect. Is it okay to just get it done once a year? I don’t know. I also told my daughter and the hair stylist to go ahead and figure out what I should do with my hair as long as it stayed long. So they picked out several photos and I said yes to the length of this one but with that bang. Ack who cares about this, I usually don’t. As for the make up I do wear light foundation mascara and lip moisturizer, but for some reason today I used an old lavender colored shadow I had on my eyelids. I went hiking and when I got back my very rosy cheeks and that grin that I get on my face after being outdoors, the one that makes my cheeks tremble because I notice I have been grinning for the whole entire last mile of the hike. I looked in the mirror and I said whoa who is that beautiful woman. Oh yeah that’s me!
The snow is dry and light, and it is slippery but also kind of like walking in sand. I ventured across the cliff edge slowly and carefully, admonishing the unleashed dog to be careful. Then onto the long path that follows so closely we walked in that part of the woods I like best, where under the snow are pine needles and roots. The tall trees and lack of undergrowth mixed with the white snow now but in the summer the grey limestone remind me of a story by children’s author Bill Peet called Cowardly Clyde, which for whatever reason I find to be a really beautiful environ. The dog is pokey today. Not his usual tear into it self. But he is also having fun. Stopping to wait for me, patiently slowing down at the cliff edge when I speak to him. And at one point I stop at that spot on the trail that seems to carry the weight of quiet in it. I cannot explain it. I have this notion that places have a spirit, that sometimes if the spirit is living still in that place you can hear it, feel it, and maybe even see the face of it in the craggy rocks or the curve of the landscape. I feel like this part of Clark is a place where you can hear not the sound of the living spirit, but the deep abiding quietude of it. Like it is an old old spirit. And as I stand there in this place listening, thinking to myself that it would be so nice if I could just have things fall right into place for once, with romance and my job, I look up, the dog has turned and is looking back at me. I am looking off into the clouds mentally not present at all, and then he comes towards me wagging and grinning like crazy, he seems to say come on, he reaches me and without his characteristic hug (pressing his body against my knees and looking up at me) he turns and runs up the hill. I shake my head and trot after him. Feeling the cold air fill my lungs. And that grin falling into place on my face.
Even if things don’t fall into place with love , I won’t be sitting at home waiting. I have done that already. It won’t ever happen again. And ultimately, it is not really something I can control. Because that phone won’t ring, and the emails don’t come, and the texts don’t arrive because I stand in the middle of the woods wishing for it.
Instead what comes is seeing my own beauty and feeling this cheek aching smile on my face.