Sweet Spots

As you know, I leave Freedom Friday to talk about things that may be on my mind, but don’t know where to fit them into the grand scheme of things. Sometimes I’ll pour it all out in a stream of consciousness, not really editing any of it in hopes what I capture will make sense later on. Sometimes I’ll write a story with a specific point in mind, with nothing but an idea to lead the way.

My family's trip to Niagara Falls.
My family’s trip to Niagara Falls.

Today’s a mix. I have something on my mind, which, at the same time, can constitute a stream of consciousness—yet I’m editing as I go along—so that sort of defeats the purpose of writing the first thought that hits the paper.

Anyway, I want to talk about sweet spots. Don’t worry. This is not about food again, although that would be cool to write about, too. The sweet spots I want to talk about have to do with times and places in my life that, for the lack of a better way to describe them, inspire me.

I’m talking about standing at the top of the stairs in my home overlooking the foyer from behind the railing. I’m not sure what it is that makes that spot so inspiring—it just is. The same goes for the window in our bedroom. I can stare outside all day, watching the leaves fall, the neighbors walking their dog, and kids going to school. It’s another sweet spot I can’t live without.

It's that time of year in our neighborhood.
It’s that time of year in our neighborhood.

Driving behind the wheel of my car also provides me with an incredible feeling. I suppose because I love to drive, it makes it all the more exciting, but that’s not it. I had a piece of crap car for a number of years before this one, and loved to drive it. However, I didn’t consider sitting behind the wheel a sweet spot. I think I like the car I have now because the display is blue. At night, the glow makes it exciting to drive.

Yet those are only things and places. My current seed of happiness is autumn. I shouldn’t talk about this subject again, you’re probably sick of hearing it. I can’t help it though. This time of year is my absolute favorite time. Yes, it’s cold. Yes, it’s dark. And yes, some folks experience SAD, but who can say they hate the howling of the wind on a cold fall night? Who can deny the rain’s power to persuade with thunder and lightning to boot? Who dislikes raking leaves? I know I don’t. It’s my happiest time of year!

The best part? Winter’s right around the corner. Hats. Mits. Heavy coats. Ah, but let’s not forget the hot chocolate, the flannel PJs, and the warm open fire.

Who has time to waste hanging around online? Facebook can wait. Twitter will always be there.

Good books are waiting for a ravenous reader. Family time is the only time. And the joy of going out with good friends at the local tavern calls.

These are the sweets spots in my life, and I’m enjoying them. What are your sweets spots?

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

Again, I ask, what are your sweets spots?

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12 thoughts on “Sweet Spots

  1. I can think of so many sweet spots, but I wanted to include one that isn’t a grand gesture, such as the view across Great Moss in the Lake District. In the end I thought I’d go for a lane near a village called Levens in Lancashire. There’s nothing particularly special, just a narrow road and hedgerows, no particularly fancy views, just the flat marshes of the estuary. A few ramshackle farms along it, some old fairground rides in storage.

    It was a visually nondescript place and yet so evocative, especially seeing the fairground rides all folded up and on display. The mind ran amok with memories of seaside amusement arcades and comics and old toys (I had an idea to start an Old Toy Museum where people could come along and play old games like Kerplunk and Battling Tops.) It was like the landscape was a white wall hung with paintings; nothing to distract, nothing to get in the way of the memories.

    Several hours later my feet were hanging off with the amount of walking.

  2. Yeah, Autumn is my favourite too. I love it when the shadows go long, the light gets this golden quality to it, the air gets crisp and cool in the afternoon. Winter kind of spoils things, not a fan of all that cold and dark, but Autumn is great.

    Sweet spot for me isn’t really one place, but occurs in Autumn. Its when I’m out either early in the morning when its still dark, or late in the evening, under a clear sky when I can see the stars, and I see the constellation of Orion up there for the first time that season. Orion was the first constellation I ever learned to identify in the night sky, and each time when I first see it for the first time each Autumn Its like greeting an old friend again. Yeah, that’s a sweet spot right there.

  3. Hi Jack! I really enjoyed this post. I am surrounded by friends who DESPISE this time of year. One of my friends goes through a bit of depression, I think, from the cold weather.

    Then there is me… the “odd one” who loves to layer up, wear hats, kick it by the fire, and drink hot chocolate (and lots of it)! I love that you enjoy this time of year, as well. As if I didn’t love your blog enough already!!

    I look forward to reading some posts of yours as the holiday season arrives and winter is officially here!

    -Kristin

  4. Great post, Jack…evokes that feeling of completely at peace, comfortable in body and spirit, where the mind can relax and roam free…today, it will be pouring another cup of coffee, once my youngest is dropped off at school, and puttering around the yard with my little dog, folding laundry inside the warm living room while watching trashy tv, before I get ready for work later. Cheers, and have a great weekend!

  5. First, I love this thoughtful, bricolage of a post, Jack. I don’t have a favorite season, per se, but Fall is definitely in the top two. Rather, I try to learn something, enjoy something, and be inspired by something from each. Second, there are some beautiful passages in your writing here. Among others, this is lovely phrasing: “rain’s power to persuade with thunder.”
    Finally, I know exactly what you mean. There are these, for lack of a better word, transcendent moments I have (usually with the kids or experiencing something awe-inspiring, as in nature or when humans are good to one another or to other animals, sometimes extraordinarily so) where a part of me actively steps out of my brain and tells me “I want to savor this moment now & in the future and I hope I never forget it.” It can be very simple and transitory–and it feels the very best when I not only experience the moment in the moment [not thinking afterward, ‘gee, I wish I’d paid more attention or been more mindful’ . . . ugh, regret!], but put up the red flag to myself to try to hold onto it forever. I guess that’s selfish, but I want my son’s smile and dimple, my daughter’s magical little voice as she plays or sings, my husband’s smile and face . . . to be with me and sustain me into my old age. Those are some of my sweet spots, dashes of time really, and always flowing by. That’s probably one of the secrets to happiness and living: the more you try to hold onto things, the less you’re able to. You only have to experience them. Sorry to ramble; happy Friday, Jack!

  6. The holidays ( Yes, they can wear out their welcome at times 🙂 ). I listen to a lot more classical music around this time of year, possibly because of the holidays. Love George Gershwin.

    The night sky. I am not a BIG fan of late Fall / early Winter, true enough, but it’s also a time of year when the sky can be clear enough that if you find a dark enough area, you can look up & it looks like you can see a sizeable area of the universe beyond Earth. & from 3 stories or more up, the street lights look like stars as well.

    ” Sweet spots “.

    • George Gershwin is one of my absolute favorite composers. I used to listen to him while walking to music school when I was a teenager. I still have the cassettes, although rather mangled at that.

      • I sat down & listened to several different versions of ” Rhapsody in Blue ” one night ( via Youtube ). I have to wonder if there’s a record for ” Listening to A Musical Composition the Most Times “. If not, maybe I can set one.

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