I hear the birds murmuring and cooing. Morning doves? Rock pigeons — outside on the roof of our building. I glance out the window at the tree in our courtyard, naked branches silhouetted against the pale blue morning sky. No movement discernible. And then yes, one… two tiny birds alight — flitting and darting from branch to branch.
In a moment, they dash away, their little wings carrying them onward as they search for nourishment. My washing machine is humming. Breakfast dishes fill our sink, my two sons are three minutes away at our neighborhood primary school and my husband is at work. A beam of sunlight is streaming into our cheerful little flat, making its way across the wall and now illuminating a bright patch of wood on the floor. I hear two clocks ticking — tick. tock. tick. tock. I take a deep breath, and I give thanks. For this stillness, for these sounds, and for this quiet gift of right now. For the peace in this moment, and for all that today will hold.
I’m not sure about you, but some days are really hard for me. Other days, I can breathe deeply, and I catch a glimpse of how much beauty is tucked in the ordinary moments of my days. I’ve been in Kraków for four years. There has been goodness and challenges each step of the way. We moved here from the United States for my husband to study medicine. Our children have attended our neighborhood school in Polish, though when we arrived they knew no Polish. Quickly, they became fluent. I have sought to support my husband and our sons, and to embrace my time here. Running, using Polish at our nearby market, becoming friends with my neighbors, navigating different settings in Polish, and doing a little bit of tutoring and writing. My days feel full. I am not sure if, when, or where we’ll move, and what will be the next step in our journey. My heart loves it here, and aches with the thought of leaving. I savor this, and yet I trust when the time comes, there will be peace in that moment, and in what lies ahead.
On my run yesterday morning, my feet kept slipping on the pre-spring mud. My shoes were becoming heavier with dirt clinging to each foot. I realized I needed to watch my every step, as I ran on the dirt path through the Błonia, a large grassy field close to the center of Kraków. I’m cutting through the middle, embracing the grassy field, the mud, and the quiet. Carefully, I land steadily and firmly, each foot striking the ground as onward I run. One step at a time. For a brief second, I notice a tiny bit of beauty, a white feather with a droplet of dew on the path.
And then onward again, krok po kroku, step by step. When I arrived home, I looked at my running shoes. They were muddy. Oczywiście (obviously). And my heart paused… what am I noticing?? This mud and this dirt at my feet? Or each footstep landing securely? And the bright blue sky above me, so much bigger than my tiny steps? I choose, dear ones, to look up. To notice the sky, to see the beauty around me, and to press on, in these moments, and each of my days in this beautiful city.
Sending much love to you, in the beauty and details of your day, in the mundane and with your struggles, and through the hard. There is such goodness with us, right now in our ordinary days. May our eyes be open to see, to receive, and to give thanks. Grace and peace be with you.