Peace on Earth is right outside
The State Journal-Register
A recent study has confirmed another thing we already know: People hate standing in long lines.
The study shows that Americans start becoming irritated after they have stood in line for 10 minutes and 42 seconds. I didn’t think our collective fuses were that short, but they could be shorter by now. ’Tis the season for standing in line.
Today is Christmas. The longest line most of us will stand in today is the one behind some persnickety family member who has to inspect the entire platter of roast turkey to find the slice that can best be drowned in gravy.
Tomorrow, the long lines at the checkout will move to the exchange window, and our 10 minutes and 42 seconds of good humor will burn up pretty quickly. The Christmas spirit we were going to hang on to for at least a week will be long gone before the last of the Christmas feast.
Today, when the dishes are done, pull your boots on and burn off that second piece of pie. Go for a walk in the wild country. Get down over the hill where the holiday lights don’t shine, and give an all-natural Christmas present to yourself.
The cardinals are decked out in their festive red. Downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers are still drilling for termites. Hawks are circling, looking for a Christmas dinner. Those guys never overeat. Nobody has ever seen a fat hawk.
In some places around here, people are seeing bald eagles. You might get really lucky and get a look at one.
As it gets closer to evening, don’t be surprised if an owl swoops down low before taking a perch on a tree limb. The rabbits know the predators are in the neighborhood. You might see one waiting it out at the bottom of a brush pile.
Squirrels are feasting on nuts they buried when the grass was green. They always know where they put them. Their sense of smell is so good, they can find a walnut buried in the ground and covered with snow.
On Christmas Day, when the anticipation is over and everyone has been wrapped a little too tight all week, a walk in the woods could do you a world of good — even if it’s just for a short time. There will be plenty of time to finish “some assembly required” after it gets dark.
Depending on which family members are still hanging around, there might still be some choice leftovers when you get back. If you’re worried about it, hide a plate of your favorites in the refrigerator — behind Aunt Bertha’s fruitcake. Nobody’s touched that since last Christmas.
Before you head back to the house, sit down on a stump and listen to the quiet. It still exists. You might find that peace on Earth can come one little piece at a time — and you won’t have to stand in line to get it.