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It is a beautiful world we live in.

It's worth it sometimes to walk away from the computer, and NPR, and the news, and go out into the world and experience an isolated moment in time. Close the eyes and smell the air. Feel a breeze on your face. Watch a parent and a child walking hand in hand down the street. Appreciate when you see a father walking a stroller or carrying an infant.

My parents...they would always buy these old fixer-upper homes and for some reason we'd move every other year -- rising and falling fortunes, I think. An annual oscillation. I remember the smell of basement mildew in these old houses. I remember it fondly.  It reminds me of home. It reminds me of rooming with my older brother. I remember laying in bed as a child in a hard floored basement room I shared with my brother and hearing the furnace kick on.

That rumble and rush of the furnace at the moment was the most comforting and beautiful thing in the dark...and I still recall it when I hear a furnace kick on. I remember a feeling of comfort with my brother nearby and my Star Wars blanket wrapped around me...the sound of a pet hermit crab clinking against a glass terrarium.

People may wonder how one can enjoy the winter. But the sound of a furnace kicking on can bring me deep comfort from a deep place. Eating my mother's bland "refrigerator soup" when I come in the crisp autumn air. The smell of cold in a jacket from somebody who just came in from outside.

We do live in a beautiful world.

The news sometimes makes it too easy to see our world as a crumbling, decaying place of corruption and misery.

I enjoy the sound of a redwinged blackbird in a chorus of spring peepers and toad song. A metallic call amidst hundreds of rounded, high chirps and a long underlying sweet trill. The feeling of soaked moss between my toes. A scent of mint kicks up with every step from the marshy water's edge. Hundreds, thousands, millions of black swimming pollywogs speckle the shallows near an inland lake shoreline.

These brief wonders and points of beauty are the things I choose to hold on to.

I went to Chicago with my three year old last weekend. He watched out the window of the "L" which I took him on just for the fun of it and he remarked over and over again how high up we were. He remarked on the animal faces in the stonework of the buildings we passed and the little cars below. He held his hands and face over the ventilation from alongside the windows and encouraged me to do the same.

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