Sometimes I just smile.

Today it’s because I’m watching the melting snow slip ever-so-softly into white wisps as it cascades from the branches of the tall pines facing my window.

“I’m not in Florida anymore,” I whisper to the quizzical, inanimate orangutan encircling my neck. (He helps me teach English to children abroad online. He’s an invaluable silent partner.)

A year and a half ago, I packed up my SUV and moved a thousand miles. Gave up a professional contract –what we used to call “tenure”– with my employer of twenty-five years. And faced life as a single woman again at the age when most people are counting the days to retirement. You know what? I’ve never been happier. I have a great job with administrators who value me, coworkers who have each other’s backs, and the resources I need to make a difference.

The snow is, pardon the pun, the icing on the cake. It’s surreal to me to live in a place where snow is seen as quite normal, just a part of life.

Throughout the day, I work. I write, tutor English, check email, have coffee and stare out the window. It’s so beautiful, the drifting snow in alabaster heaps on the ground.

I’ll take a snow day over a hurricane day, hands down. The power is still on, for one thing.

I’m so appreciative of this unexpected gift of time.

Some of the natives, not so much. My colleagues worry about how we’ll fit everything in before Winter Break. There are exams, observations, lesson plans that will need to be adjusted.

I shrug. It’ll be fine. Somehow, life has a way of working out. This is a new mantra for me in the second half of life, and flies in the face of my younger self, the girl who had to have everything worked out. But now, no more. What will be, will be.

For today, I have time and time means the opportunity to learn, to invest in myself, to read and write and talk to others who are ahead of me in the journey. Maybe even time to clean out a closet. We’ll see.

From the corner of my eye, I perceive a flash. More white powder tumbles from the pines. The movement draws my attention outdoors. The neighbor’s sheltie is pushing through chest-high snow banks on his daily walk. I laugh.

“Definitely not in Florida anymore.” Mr. Orangutan just keeps smiling.