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The Ordinary Recipe For A Magical Life?

The Magic of Ordinary Days was a 2005 movie starring Keri Russell and Skeet Ulrich. The Dust Bowl-era flick cast Russell as an unmarried yet pregnant young city girl shipped off to an enter into an arranged marriage with a Midwestern farmer to prevent shaming her family. As films go, it wasn’t bad. As titles go though, I always thought it was extraordinary – the magic of ordinary days. Recent events though have made me think it is not only extraordinarily good, it is a “design for life”… to borrow another title, that one from a Manic Street Preachers song. I might go so far as to say it could just be the “secret of life.”

I always liked the title because I guess I like surprises less than most people, it seems. I quite like predictability even when it seems mundane to others. This past week has made a lot of people around here begin to see the wisdom of that themselves. If the past year, with Covid being a most unwelcome addition to our lives and dictionaries hasn’t been enough, here the last eight days have. The unparalleled week of winter here in Texas, complete with 0-degree nights, freezing rain storms, snow storms, impassable roads, massive power outages and a number of major fires caused by power flashing back on after those outages have made people start to recognize how much we normally take for granted. Electricity. Running water…when it’s not running out of the ceiling when the pipes freeze and burst. Mail delivery. Bread, milk, soup on grocery store shelves. Roads that can get us to those shelves safely. There’s a lot to like about mundane, ordinary days.

I think that’s rather the recipe for a good life, or a satisfying one at least. I love birds, as you may already know. I’m excited when I see an endangered species or rarity that’s 1000 miles outside of its normal range, but I find a lot of happiness looking out at the feeder in the front yard seeing all the common species, many of which I’ve seen more days than not since I was a teen. The birders I know who become obsessed with the life list and checking off rarities on a checklist tend to be a little high-strung and irritable, I find. Sure, love seeing that Kirtland’s Warbler or the arctic-dwelling Snowy Owl that finds itself flying across an Oklahoma field, but if you can’t get pleasure from watching the antics of the Cardinals, Robins and Mockingbirds outside your window, you’re probably going to be frustrated a great deal. Likewise, by all means enjoy your birthday, the week at the beach in summer, the Christmas lights and gifts on December 25th. But if you want to be OK, learn how to love the times when you’re at work. Shopping for potatoes. Sitting at home in the evening with your better half watching a re-run of a sitcom you’ve seen so many times you’ve memorized the lines. Because there are a lot more of those times than the lottery wins or once-in-a-lifetime gifts to open. Once you realize that, those moments will become just a bit more special still…but the other 99% of your life will become a lot more so.

Next time you’re heading home and the traffic in front of you slows to a crawl remember it… there’s a Magic of Ordinary Days.

15 Replies to “The Ordinary Recipe For A Magical Life?”

  1. Sometimes mistakes are good things. I picked up a week’s worth of groceries on the way home from work last Friday. Jen forgot and picked up a week and a little more on Sunday. We were fortunate…we have enjoyed ourselves through the winter wonderland…I’m also fortunate to be able to work from home.

    I loved being at home…BUT I don’t like being STUCK at home…not on my terms I guess. Yes after Covid is over and this passes…we should reflect on how good we have it or how bad it can get. Life is made up of forgettable ordinary days…I would love to see them again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly right – same here…I like being home a lot but not because there’s no option to go out at all! I think the past year has really made most of us realize how many things we took for granted before.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea we are trying to get out today and see how bad it is out there. They salted the roads a lot and today we are getting over freezing! I got a late start today on blogging…I will catch up later.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yay! Hope things are getting better out there. Here, we (and most of city it seemed) got out and about for first time in a week, there were still a few ice patches but by and large roads were’t bad and it was up well above freezing. Today, getting near 60!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Good! Yeah, it dropped to below freezing last night but is already into 50s now and it looks like the winter weather is done, thankfully. Store shelves are still pretty empty when it comes to things like bread and milk, but I guess that will rectify itself this week.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I wonder if this will be it for our winter…as far as snow…you guys I would say a big YES…but for us March can bring snow.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dang, Dave, I had no idea things were going so far out of the ordinary in TX. You’re used to snow, but how many there are freaking because of it in TX. Then I hear Cruz took a cruise in the midst of it. You’re right, everyday ordinary magic days is where it’s at.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, it’s a complex problem… cities here have no snow-clearing equipment (I think cities the size of waco, let alone Dallas and Houston could spring for a plow or two even if it sits unused some winters but they don’t) , people who are natives have never dealt with driving in these conditions, a lot of houses- especially old ones – here and to the south don’t have central heat, so it’s all electric heaters if it gets cold (which of course adds to demand for electricity right when it’s in short supply), and the darn state won’t link it’s power grid to any other state’s unlike every other state of the nation… they’re seeing the results of that independant feeling now…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a complex problem! Hoping things have calmed down now? Hard to know what to do as a state. If it was just a freak storm, probably nothing, but something tells me it wasn’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No matter how much is manmade and how much is nature, the climate is changing…but Al Gore sure got it wrong back in 2005(?). It’s not ‘global warming’ it’s change… it seems like extremes are getting more extreme worldwide. Colder winters, hotter summers, more intense storms. So, yes, I’d guess the once-in-a-century storm may reoccur within the next few years unfortunately!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Dave, I have just been watching news reports on youtube about what’s going on in TX and others that got slammed in the south by the cold and snow. SO horrible! I hope you and your loved ones are safe.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. yes, thanks ! We’re all well although all have had a minor setback or two in past week (we had a couple of burst pipes for instance) but nothing much to complain of. So many people have had serious problems with water, electricity or fires (lot of fires sparked when power comes back on after being off for days – probably people were cooking when it went out and left pans on stove or something, and then as hotel in Killeen showed, many sprinkler systems froze up too).

        Liked by 1 person

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