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Cookies and Milk | S.D. Henke

Creating has become a challenge as I aim to find a balance between time, energy, and productive cycles. That challenge for me lately has been getting back to my writing. There’s always a reason not to write. There will always be barriers that stand between a writer and her goals. This time it’s my own motivation, or lack thereof, getting the better of me where it’s been sitting in a vacuum of an ever-changing environment. I suppose I need to resign myself to the fact that the world is what it is. I can’t rewrite that, but I do have control over my own response and how to seek out new ways of filling the empty space.

I recently had time away to focus on my writing up in Estes Park at The Rocky Mountain YMCA in Colorado for a retreat with The Northern Colorado Writers. This is an organization whose mission is to create a supportive and encouraging community where writers can inspire one another to become successful. The opportunity gave me to the time and space (in a socially distant world) to harness the energy to create again. There I was with three solid days in a place of calm—my own room, time to write, and time to rest. The elk even came to bugle me on. In this sacred space I had time to reflect on how, over the last eight months, I’ve become weary of the changing world. Like many others, I’ve found it difficult to focus my time and energy on anything, let alone writing. I needed to find some solace and grounding beyond the day to day news cycle. Fortunately, being in nature has always held that light for me. It’s amazing what a walk in the forest offers with breath and healing. On the path lined with pinecones and all of nature’s breadcrumbs, it seemed as if something in the air this fall felt charged with new promise.

On the second night of the retreat, we watched the movie Stranger Than Fiction. Will Ferrell’s character, “Harold Crick, a lonely IRS agent whose mundane existence is transformed when he hears a mysterious voice narrating his life”. In one scene, Harold is enjoying his first taste of milk and fresh-baked cookies with Ms. Pasqual, his love interest, and she asks, “After a really awful, no good day, didn’t your mama ever make you milk and cookies?”

In this time I had to get away and reflect, I’ve realized we’ve all been struggling with a really awful, no good year. This time to sit and just be was in itself a time to heal. Like milk and fresh-baked cookies, I discovered the power of a walk outside, a bike ride, and a hike in the woods. We’re living in a time of rare opportunity as we all prepare to settle in for the cold and unclear days ahead. Maybe finding a time to sit down and take pleasure in the simple things that bring us joy is the only way to get through. Each one of us deserves a warm fresh-baked cookie and a nice tall glass of cold milk, whatever that looks like for you. Let it be enough to get you through the days to come. Savor each bite, wash it down, and leave this experience better than you were before the milk and cookie life changed you.

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