These are the good old days

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Something I love about winter here in North Carolina is the tacit invitation to get outside and walk, and Monday featured perfect conditions – cloudy and a little breezy with a high of 53-degrees. I had a check to deposit so I decided to hike in to Wake Forest instead of drive. It’s just 1.1 miles to the bank with sidewalks the entire way.

Walking also turns out to be a useful activity when I’m trying to do a deep dive with my writing, because it gives me the opportunity to let thoughts and ideas percolate without too much distraction. The cool air cleans out some of the cobwebs in my brain and it seems like my spirit is more receptive to listen.

This may not be a “pretty” time of the year, but our neighborhood is loaded with trees and I find it’s a lovely walk anyway. There is a stark, stripped down, almost minimalist beauty to the bare limbs, gray on gray on gray with the winter sky.

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Then, crossing the railroad track into downtown, the emerging condominium development offered some insight to the writing project I’m working on. The build is an important element of the ongoing downtown improvement initiative, along with new townhouses another block to the east, streetscapes off White Street, innovative restaurants, the roundabout up by the college, the new aquatic center, major progress at Joyner Park, and more.

Today the luxury condos are little more than a shell. But soon water, electricity and cable will add power, light, and connectivity; HVAC systems will control the climate; flooring and cabinetry and appliances will be installed to make the units habitable; then people will move in and transform the building from a showpiece to a collection of living, breathing homes.

It is cool to watch this town evolve. There are so many factors combining to shape the spirit and the personality of Wake Forest. It reminds me that nothing about life that’s really alive is stagnant. Rebekah and I have seen this town change a lot since we arrived in the summer of 2013 and – as we have discussed before in this space – change is essential to the definition of life.

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author Derek Maul lives and writes in Wake Forest, North Carolina

I believe it’s exactly the way Carley Simon described it in her 1971 song, Anticipation: “These are the good old days.” Not just in this town but at our church too, and in my life together with Rebekah.

These are the good old days in so many ways.

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers. – Psalm 1

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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