I trudged slowly through the snow, along the trail that leads from my yard to the creek through the woods. The ground sparkled white as the sinking sun reflected off the ice crystals. I followed the tracks to the water’s edge and stared into the smooth brown rocks that wallpapered the creek bed. A dash of reddish tan darted past a tree at the edge of my vision, turning my head just enough to see Charlie, my golden retriever, silently sprinting full tilt after a group of 8 or 9 white-tailed deer. I watched to see how far he’d go, free from the constraints of his electric fence collar that rested in my pocket. He pushed the herd into a neighbor’s yard on the far side of the woods and danced back and forth excitedly. I whistled and he turned around, bounding through the trees back to my side. I knelt down and brushed off the patches of snow that had stuck to his nose, and he nuzzled in to lick my neck, proud of himself and his escapade with the deer. I stood and breathed in the sub-zero air. Gradually I exhaled. We turned and walked together back toward the house.
I’d been stuck in my office since eight that morning. Since my office is in a finished room in my attic, I have a very short commute. About 35 steps from my coffee cup in the kitchen, to be exact. I counted. I’m grateful that I often get to work from home, but have found that I have to get outside at the end of the day to decompress, even if only for a few minutes. I think I’m missing that buffer period that most commuters have during the time when they leave the office to when they arrive back home. Whether short or long, it’s still nice to have that transition period to get your mind off of work and prepare for the loving but often manic reality that is home. Sometimes I wander downstairs in a daze, overly affected by one to many conference calls and sales spreadsheets and unprepared for the sudden barrage of demands from a younger set of clients.
Tonight after dinner, in honor of yet another snow day home from school, (that’s 10 this year if you’re counting) I watched the second half of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with the boys. The older two have seen it a couple of times, but it was a first for my nearly 5-year-old. He knows most of the story lines and character names from books, video games, and Legos, but it’s still fun to see his face as he watches the adventure unfold. I went through the tough decision again of whether to start him on the “new” Episode I or to start at original Episode IV movies first like I saw them as a kid. I couldn’t bring myself to break habit and showed the original ones first like I had to the older boys. Interestingly, he doesn’t get scared at all like the other two did. I’m not sure if he’s just brave or if having two older brothers has permanently scarred him. It’s been a few years since I’ve watched it and I was reminded what a great movie Empire is. Of course they asked if they can start watching Return of the Jedi tomorrow, but I think we’ll take a little break. That’s the one with Princess Lea in a zucchini, they reminded me, laughing. Yes, I remember.