We spent yesterday being thankful, and it was a full day. My life has been blessed, full, funny, a bit unusual, and very, very happy.
I am thankful for being alive and healthy. My body at 60-plus years is still running, although a little rusty. With proper maintenance it should have a lot more miles in it.
I am thankful for my dear people. Grandpa Nelson and Auntie Bridgett love me with all my faults. They are my people to look after and cook for, to play with, to dance and draw and do puzzles with.
I am thankful for my extended family. You and your Mom and Dad, Auntie Katie and the cousins, are not within hugging distance at the moment. But all things pass and before very long we will be hanging out at the Laurelhurst Park, or back on the beach in Monterey together. Meanwhile, we send letters and zoom and know we are loved.
I am thankful for learning. Being able to keep my brain young by learning French, art, and history makes everyday challenging and fun. I have always preached about “life-long learning” but never fully appreciated it until now.
I am grateful for our home here in Portland. This city has been such a fine place to retire, with art, theater, and all the urban buzz. The buzz is muted for a while, but will return with gusto, I have no doubt. And with Portland’s energy and social awareness, that will be a fine thing to see.
I am grateful for Democracy. The American Experiment wobbled for a while, but seems to be righting itself. I am glad to be able to have faith in our country’s future.
So, the other day I was remembering how my Momma encouraged us to deal with sad times by finding things to be grateful for. And then yesterday, coming back from running errands, I found the Gratitude Tree.
This is a tree planted in the parkway at SE 36th and Main Street. I don’t know how long it has been there, and don’t know how I have missed it until now. Indeed, I may have seen it, but since I didn’t NEED it, it didn’t register. Brains are like that.
Anyway, I stopped and had a good visit with the Gratitude Tree. It carries the website http://www.gratitudedojo.com and is covered with Manila tags, which are attached to a rope by thin wire. Hundreds of people have written what they are grateful for and attached their thanks.
These acknowledgements of gifts great and small made me smile. And, like the Grinch, my heart grew a few sizes. Even in the midst of racial upheavals and violence, an international pandemic and incompetent leadership, there is a lot to be grateful for.
I don’t know who has provided our neighborhood with this wonderful way to put our joy and appreciation on display. I wish I did. I would make them a batch of cookies and write them a limerick.
Cookies don’t travel well online, but here is the limerick.
It seems there is a pendulum in my emotions that swings back and forth. Most days it is somewhere in the middle, and I go through the days happily reading, painting, and cooking.
But every few weeks or so, the pendulum swings all the way to total energized happiness, and I walk for miles and make cookies. A few weeks later, it swings back, and it is a struggle to get out of bed and make conversation.
I know we are all going through this together, but we are doing it mostly alone. And it’s hard, sometimes. My Momma was a big fan of gratitude in times like these. She grew up in Dust Bowl Oklahoma and didn’t have much in terms of clothes or toys. But she loved her tiny flower garden and her dog. So now it’s my turn.
I am grateful for:
My family, near and far. The near ones hold me together with love, patience and silliness, and the far ones remind me that we will all be together again someday.
Old friends. Some I know from kindergarten, high school, or just last year. But the network is there and lets me remember my connected-ness.
My health. This is a gift that I try not to abuse or take for granted.
Flowers, plants, wind, and clouds. Yesterday evening, watching the wind make the trees dance in the sunset was the highlight of my day.
Crossword puzzles, baking, and art. These small challenges keep my brain active and make me laugh. Also, cookies!
Well, I feel better. I hope you find a lot to be grateful for and that it brings you joy.