FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Like An Ant…


by Dave Markwell

Some days, the sun shines through the living room window and changes the world. Yesterday was one of those days. I sat in a chair by the window feeling like an ant under a ten-year old’s magnifying glass. The only distinction being that I, unlike the ant, really, really enjoyed it. My feet had been cold for days, so I took off my socks and placed my bare soles in warmest spot next to the glass-not too close, not too far-and laid back in the recliner. It was in this position with the sun on my face that my life came back to me.

The day began as a turd. I was up early, uninspired and crabby. I did not want to be up at all, but the fact that it was cold and raining made leaving my toasty bed even less appealing. I was faced with a day that I did not want to face. I had stuff to do that I did not want to do and I had places to be that I did not want to be. It was “one of those days” that everyone talks about.

For several hours, I was not a good person to be around. During this time, I managed to not swear at my kids or wife. My dogs, however, were not so fortunate, nor were a couple of CrossFit members I coached during the peak of my wet and dark 6 AM grouchiness.

While I understand that many articulate and expressively appropriate words exist, sometimes a cuss word communicates the message a little more clearly. If I drop an “f-bomb” in my house, negotiations are OVER and compliance occurs. Here, I am speaking about the ceaseless negotiations with my kids about virtually everything. To be clear, I am not speaking of any exchange with my wife. I am not a total fool. Her propensity for escalation far surpasses mine. I am over-matched. She may only be five feet tall (with shoes on), but she can and would hurt me.

The turning point to this crappy day occurred about mid-morning: the rain stopped and I saw the sun appear through the clouds. In this moment, things began to look up. I am exactly so fickle that a brief glimpse of the sun can change me. What began a simple release of my angry tension moved slowly towards genuine joy. This metamorphosis took some time, but it happened.

While sitting in my chair with my face pointed at the sun, I began to remember what a good day feels like. I was grateful for my chair and my window and the sun. I was grateful to have health and hope and opportunity. I had the valuable asset of choice. With this recognition, my day was truly transformed. My steps were lighter and my words were kinder. I was the me I like to be.

In moments like these, I really try to capture the magic. Like a ghost, the spirit of a good day is fleeting. Sometimes, it does not reveal itself at all or if it does, it appears more as a sense than a cognitive awareness. This feeling drifts in and out of the ether. It is beautiful, but elusive. So, like yesterday, when I feel it and know it, I try to keep it.

Yesterday, again unlike the ant under the magnifying glass, I welcomed the soft sun’s warm rays and their power to shake me free from the dangling annoyances which nipped at my heel. I also knew that soon enough my own lovely annoyances would be home from school, prepared to hold their hands steady as their hot, sharp beams burnt me crispy…the good moments never last as long as we would like, but I sure did enjoy a few minutes in a chair by a window…

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]


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