Leave the Day Better

Archived | May 4, 2016 | By

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. Took a short walk before the show and a longer one after. So lovely out there with the trees all in bud and the grasses tall in the meadows and the early blooming flowers all rippling and waving in a breeze I’d call a whistle short of a strong wind. I’ve been out walking nearly every day now since the polar temps lifted and the walks get a bit longer each time I go.

Seems about the kindest thing one can do for oneself, takin’ a walk. Gets you out into the air, away from all the mess of things. You breathe and think and mingle with the people and animals of the world, and there’s always that unexpected thing that happens (you find some cash, you meet someone you’ve missed, you have an epiphany, you witness a car accident, you fall down, you help someone up, you buy yourself a maple long john with bacon to share with someone at home, etc.)

A dear friend of mine said recently that if you are kind you will have a great life. And I believe her. I see it all the time. The happy people are all kind. They go out into the world and do their thing and leave a place better than it was before they arrived. Teachers are like this. They show up in their classrooms and by day’s end questions have been answered, worries have been assuaged and students leave knowing something they didn’t know before. And doctors. They soothe and heal. And the people who work at the gas station smile and engage in conversation and remind me that I am here and I’m funny and someone wishes me a good day. Neighbors bring coffeecake. I see strangers opening doors for each other, and people waiting to let others pass on paths and streets and in line at the store. Children share their lunches. Pastors visit people who can’t leave their homes and bring a plant and a prayer. Kindnesses, all.

It’s easy to be kind. It’s like smiling instead of frowning; takes fewer muscles and it feels mighty good. But I think sometimes we forget to be kind to ourselves. You know? Take a break from the swirl of things and just do something kind for you. We forget. So that’s my wish for you for the month of May. A nap in a hammock, scallops for dinner, hiring someone to come and do the cleaning, a road trip to a chocolate shop, a long afternoon walk in the woods by the river. Be kind to yourself now and then. You’ll leave the day better than it was when you got there. Sure will.

Here’s an indulgent kindness which you’ll have a hard time not sharing with everyone in the house. You won’t have a choice, really. Once they smell it, they’ll show up. And I suggest you have some vanilla ice cream handy to scoop up on the side.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

1¾ cup flour
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 T vanilla
¾ cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 inch loaf pan. Whisk flour and salt together and set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy, five minutes or so. Slowly add in eggs, yolks and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture, and beat on low until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 60 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Let cake cool for 20 minutes or so before removing from pan.