Today was my first Friday off in my new four day work week. I love my new work schedule! Going in two hours early really isn't that big a deal. But getting one extra day a week for ME is a HUGE deal.
Its amazing how productive you can be when you have nothing you need to do and nowhere you need to go. I got all my laundry done, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned out the fridge, studied a couple hours for my exam next Saturday, paid my bills, sent a couple emails that I hadn't gotten around to, returned the bottles, bought a couple Christmas presents, swept out the garage, went to the gym, and made dinner for J and K. I feel great.
The best part of the day, though, wasn't the extra rest. It wasn't the crazy productivity. It was how beautiful the day was. I came out of the store at one point and literally caught my breath. The leaves were brilliant, the air was warm. It was slightly foggy and there was a mist hanging over the trees, muting the outline of the distant trees, changing the colors to a more muted hue. The air smelled like fallen leaves, rain, and woodfires.
Several years ago, a friend of a friend took us up a hill in Texas to show us what he described as "the most beautiful spot on earth". At the top of the hill, we were treated to a view of a landfill on one side and military housing on the other. At the time, I figured he had just flipped his lid. He usually lived just outside Nashville, Tennesee; where I would have whole heartedly agreed with his opinion of "the most beautiful spot one earth." But the hill by the landfill? Not so much.
I have driven through places where I had to pull the car over and just stare or else I would have driven off the road, I was so distracted by the beauty (Boone, NC). I have hiked through places that I knew deep down were created to be sacred places (Olympic National Park, WA). I have stood in spots where I was so overcome that tears streamed down my face (Sequoia National Park, CA). Yet I could never wrap my mind around the idea that a landfill could be somebody's favorite spot on earth.
Today, I finally understood. Because for one brief moment, looking across the mall parking lot at the autumn leaves and the mist, I found myself in the most beautiful spot on earth.