b ~ Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

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Books are the sweetest escape. There is no greater bliss than sliding between the bedcovers to open up a book that you want to be immersed in. There are times when a book is so good, you find yourself counting the seconds until you can get back to it. I have been wallowing in an epic tome, but I’m thisclose to finishing it. Hallelujah! Already I have my eyes on the book that will follow. This one is shorter. Much shorter. These series of connected essays might be just what I need to reinspire me. On the back there is a blurb that reads: “This book is a gift, it will make your life larger. ” I find that books can do just that; and in turn they become the safe way, the easy way. They comfort you in the best of ways. Reading is like ordering your favorite item off the menu–but don’t you ever want to be brave and order something else?

It has been snowing here for what seems like forever and the siren song of the books next to my bed is loud and almost unavoidable. It would be so easy to ignore the rest of the world and take up residence in those pages. For an introvert like me these moments restore my confidence and recharge my aching spirit. Especially now. The holidays at our house are a busy time: baking and wrapping and writing our cards… Crawling into bed early seems like the perfect option. And when the snow is blanketing the earth my inner clock starts to shut down, to be still, to embrace the quiet in the midst of the chaos. Slumber, hibernate, fallow. These words are the lullaby.

But these past few weeks have taught me a valuable lesson. I haven’t been home as expected. The wrapping, baking and writing have been pushed to the side. (Those of you looking for babka– it’s been delayed, but it’s on its way.)

Instead of crossing things off the To Do List, I have been out and about with:

*Friends who take you on a tour of houses all decorated for the holidays. And when you are unexpectedly asked to take off your boots, your friend doesn’t bat an eye. Instead she insists your mismatched socks are a style choice and applauds your confidence and creativity. Those beautiful houses that you tour together are so inspiring. I think next December there will be a few new inspired touches to our own house.

*Friends who take you to concerts, like to a talented songstress you’ve seen at least eight times over the past twelve years. You both sit there, enchanted, discovering the true definition of bliss as you mouth along to the songs you know by heart. And because of the distance from home you spend the night in a sweet hotel and watch tv and laugh until your tummy hurts. The next day there is morning coffee, followed by window shopping and the long car ride home for uninterrupted conversation. A perfect weekend if there ever was one.

*Friends who invite you over to bake special treats, using recipes you have found online. Recipes that you have been thinking about, lapsing into daydreams about the confections melting in your mouth. You could make the cookies at home, alone in your own kitchen, but baking together is more fun when there is more than just one. When you are together there is booktalk and specially brewed tea. When you are together time seems to stand still, giving you the chance to catch up and make plans for future escapades.

*Old friends, the kind that have known you for decades. Friends that call out of the blue and announce their visit. They fly across the country and swoop in like a superhero to take you on a minivacation in your own state. But having an outsider in the car brings to light all of the things you love about the place you call home. Wherever you are you run into people that you know, you explain how you know them and how they fit into your life. The interconnectedness of it all begins to emerge.

For our lives are a series of connections. People who connect over and over, back and forth, to and fro. Like spinning a web; a safety net that rests underneath you, just in case you should happen to fall. These are the friends who reach out to you, who extend a hand pull you up out of the quicksand you didn’t even know you were mired in.

For all of this and more I am thankful.

It’s easy to get lost in your own life, to tell yourself that you are doing what you need to do, doing what makes you happy. But I’ll admit, stepping outside of your comfort zone (oh how that phrase makes me cringe) opens your eyes to new possibilities and new horizons. As this blog ends, the space is open for something new. An adventure to embark upon. I hope you’ll join us.

About andi

Writer, editor, wrangler of small boys and dogs.

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