Fortune Cookie Wisdom and Late Winter Snow

Just this past weekend, I finally succumbed to my husband: I agreed to eat at Twin Dragons, a Chinese restaurant in Brevard–an insane, bevy of buffets from different countries and enormous seating area sort of place with bright lighting and big bellies… if you catch my drift. These places have always made me nervous, even though I’ve only been to a couple of Ryan’s Steakhouses in my life. You see, growing up in my fitness-crazed family, we were forbidden from eating in buffet restaurants (I swear I heard my Dad compare them once to a cattle call). We never went out, like our friends did after church, for Sunday dinner. Oh, heck no. We went running.

So, with my husband I went, and I faithfully even tried several different types of food. But, I’m pregnant and hungry, and so it all worked out in the end… though this will probably be my one and only voluntary adventure into the world of buffet dining, for the remainder of my life.

The point–if there really is one–is the message I found in my token fortune cookie, the one I waited to read (and didn’t eat… is that unlucky?) until I was at home, later at my desk. It read: “You are the master of every situation.” This struck me, as any good fortune cookie should, because lately I’ve felt completely lacking of any sort of mastery over my life. I am 18 weeks pregnant, and my body has been taken over by odd exhaustion and forgetfulness and extra weight. I’m 60 pages into a new novel which I started out loving, but now I’m feeling the plot slip away from me like the morning memory of last night’s dream… if it was even really there in the first place.

So, of what am I the master? My father, the same buffet-table-protester, would say I am the master (or mistress) of my attitude. And, darn it all, he’d be right. So, today I vow to write–anything–to go to the library to check out books on plotting (because maybe, miraculously, they’ll help), to breathe in the chilly air of the this Western North Carolina morning, to be happy. We shall see!

We recently got what most folks in town, I think, are hoping is our last blast of winter–a measely inch of snow earlier this week. But despite the cold, my crocuses are beginning to emerge and bloom buttercup yellow, the forsythia in my backyard is budding, and I’ve heard more birds chirping in the past few days than in the past few months. These are the things of which to take stock, for which to be thankful. And while I may daydream of spiriting Stuart and Scout (and nameless fetus baby) away to a tropical paradise while I hole up in a Swiss Family Robinson-type treehouse to write, write, write my little heart out, I have decided that it is the little, everyday things that make a true life: the recognition of nature, the thankfulness of warmth on a cold day, the emergence of Spring in a tiny backyard. Sounds idealistic, I know, but backing out of my driveway yesterday it came to me: Paradise is where you make it.

All hail Spring, all hail rebirth! And Happy Thursday. Enjoy the photos taken from our home and from a walk along the Coon Tree Loop Trail, in Pisgah National Forest.

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