It’s late in the day, and I’m sitting at a cafe in the heart of St. Paul. My car coughed and sputtered in the heat, and came to a rest on the corner. The old girl has 190,000 miles on her, and the heat effects us both the same. We both get uncomfortable, we start to whine, and then need to find a shady place to rest until we cool down. I’m glad she came to rest in St. Paul. I love this city. It’s the link between the effervescent city of Minneapolis and the thriving community of Woodbury. Many great writers live here, including Garrison Keillor.
After locking the car and patting her on the hood, I walked through streets of the old neighborhood I found myself in. I looked up towards the canvas of trees that shaded the street before me and my heart tumbled with a love I couldn’t answer or explain as I heard the hauntingly familiar music of my youth. I couldn’t believe my ears nor my eyes. An ice-cream truck! I havent seen one in a decade or more. It was white and square and its sides were covered with pictures of yummy cold treats. The truck was much smaller than I remembered it being. It rolled slowly down the street, and I was surprised to notice its music still had the same effect on me. I was like one of the Pied Piper’s mice, magically following the music. (It seemed to have the same effect on the three other kids running towards magical musical truck as well.) The four of us followed behind it, trailing along waiting for its wheels to stop rolling and sell us its creamy, sweet treats. The kids ran up to it with their dollars held tightly in their fists. Shyly, I walked up to its window and asked the driver for an ice-cream cone. I received a sweet little cone, stuffed with a dense, frozen cloud of ice-cream covered in milk chocolate and sprinkled with crushed peanuts. I bit into the chocolate crust and streams of melted ice cream immediately slid over my fingers. I was in heaven.
These are the little moments that are meant to be savored. Coming across the ice- cream truck after my car overheated redeemed what could have been a miserable day for me. So many of us let a single moment, or a build up of singular moments, steal away our peacefulness and darken the remainder of what was once a promising day. An overheated car, a sick child, running late for an important meeting, or an argument with a spouse or loved one can certainly knock us off-balance. But do we want to remain off-balance for the rest of the day? Or can we accept that what is effecting us negatively in the moment is just a momentary thing? There are many things surrounding us that can nurture our souls if we open ourselves up to them. Simple things – like an ice cream truck – can redeem the day and restore our equilibrium. Napping in the yard, in a patch of sunlight, in the middle of the day; a lovely meal; reading a simple passage in a book that speaks to your soul; creating something beautiful with your hands. These moments awaken within us the faint potentiality for happiness after darker times. We were given life, and it is our best interest as women to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight. I know that I feel more grounded through the enjoyment of harmless pleasures; and it creates within me a soul that is more intact. These blessed moments of redemption are indeed acts of worth in this world – even if these moments happen to effect nobody’s day but my own.