Tag Archives: thankfulness

I Will Continue to be Grateful, Regardless

Kousa Dogwood, Fall, 2016

Kousa Dogwood,
Fall, 2016

Five days before the presidential election of 2016, I am anxious, eager for closure, a resolution to the intense, verbal barrage of words—all framed to influence my vote.

I am a Hillary supporter—have been, hope to continue, long after November 8th. I am grateful for her spunk, her dogged effort to pursue her aspiration, her fortitude and persistence. If she wins, I will be ever-so-much-more grateful for all her effort and the efforts of all who have worked to support her. And, if she does not, I hope to continue to seek, focus on and attain a sense of gratitude.

I have found that gratitude can be accessed and noted every day. Gratitude is present if one pays attention. In this media based society, so focused on the input of news and opinion making, it is challenging but necessary to step back, shut out the media/Facebook/tweeting and shift into the quest for quiet and paced reflection.

There are so many levels of gratitude, the choice evoked by attentiveness to an immediate resonance— a heartfelt memory, a meaningful encounter, the promise of satisfying effort. I learned to slow down while collecting limpet shells on the Maine shoreline. Nowadays, I slow down to collect moments of gratitude in my garden, in my everyday encounters, in my reflections as I shower.

At a recent women’s group meeting, I heard anxiety in the discussion of my close peers. How alike we are in our anxiety over the fate of our nation and especially with regard to our children and grandchildren’s future. Yet, in spite of the worrisome undercurrents in our circle, because we zeroed in and narrowed our range of concern and interest, each of us was able to focus on aspects of gratitude in our lives.

I spoke of my gratitude for my writing practice, the opportunity to pursue multiple options, the struggle to attend to one or two pieces and bring them to completion. In a month, I will have published 52 gratitude posts on my blog.

But what of November 9th? If my candidate loses, will I be able to focus and seek the kinetic attachment, pen to paper, articulate the gratitude experience at a gut/visceral experience, find the words to seek the balance basic to my mantra: Gratitude is as Gratitude Does?

The answer is as always—onward. On the drive home from the meeting in Lowell, there were four of us. Claudine, an artist, commented on how, in her urban environment, she had thought the fall colors had waned but that on the highway, she noticed an abundance of orange/yellow trees in full array. I was grateful for her observing eye: the many shapes and designs, the glorious display, which heightened my sense of being.

I offer this as metaphor— for all of us in the aftermath of November 8th, to notice the ever-changing landscape, to seek what attracts and resonates, to articulate what makes you grateful, to express thankfulness in word or deed.

 

Rebel Rudbeckia

 

IMG_Y. Rudbeckia1096

Two days before Thanksgiving, a lone black-eyed rudbeckia, surrounded by dead stalks and fallen leaves, blooms in my front garden. I bend into it and smile. November, west of Boston, I check the frost warnings with hope that my pint-sized yellow friend will beat the odds. I am uneasy in my selfish wish for nurturing temperatures given the wider implications of global warming.

Do I feel guilty for the enjoyment? Yes and no. This time last year, I wrote, “a warm day, in the 60’s, a fantastic day for gardening, my body seemed fluid, bent and moved with ease as I cut back most of the perennials.” No ambivalence in that note.

The late bloomer inserted itself between two large stones at the tip of the small pond. The full sun location, next to the front steps, is prime. All the surrounding garden plants, in lock step, died off while this rebel’s blossom invited me to check daily as to whether or not it would birth open.

Late fall in the Northeast; it is unusual to find a late spring perennial growing as if the season were just beginning. How could I not be taken with its sweet youth and wonder at the possibility of how long it would withstand the frequent dawn frostings?

I kid you not; I root for this rebel, take pleasure in its steadfastness. Yet, to experience pleasure makes me uneasy given that I am rooting for more temperate days for its growth and yes, my own selfish nurturance. The connection to this black-eyed sprout helps to sustain me during the autumn of my life when many dear friends are suffering from falls and terrible diagnosis. I am grateful for my sturdiness and ability to share what warmth I can, to try to ease their challenges.

Thanksgiving arrives in two days. 60-degree weather is predicted. I have no control over the air currents or their trajectory just as I have no control over who thrives. What I know is that I will join friends and family to give thanks around my daughter’s table for my bountiful connection to family, friends and to this earth.

Through daily gratitude writing, I have learned to notice and engage with the immediate relationships in my life, be they human, animal, plant or mineral. To attend is to be mindful and caring of another. The very act fuels the possibility of meaningful connection. I am grateful to share the story of my sprouting rudbeckia with the hope that whatever moves you as the solstice descends will be shared in meaningful ways.