Just as food nourishes the body, gratitude nourishes the spirit. I eat three meals a day; I seek out the experience of gratitude each day.
I experience gratitude as a bane against loneliness, the arrival of resonance—a welcoming, a pleasing, a touching of the heart and an appeal to my sensibility.
Gratitude is as gratitude does is a phrase I turn to daily. It prompts me to consider and reflect upon events, discoveries, happenings, and interactions, which spark gratitude and affect my sense of well-being.
How we experience gratitude is personal and imbedded in our personal stories. For myself, gratitude arrives when I interact with another person or creature and feel appreciative of kindness or benefits received or when I interact in an environment pleasing to my mind or senses.
The spring I turned 82 was a teeter-totter spring— wet, rainy and cold with occasional warm days in the seventies prompting trees to leaf out and burst with pollen. On a morning when my eyes wept and my head felt clogged with cotton baton, I watched two young blue jays play wing tag across my back hill.
The first bird, lithe and energetic, whizzed by when another—lighter, flightier—its movement as bold as its blue feathered body lit against the lime green landscape. My blood raced with the tempo of their flight. As if to assure me that indeed there were two, they launched their winged dance center stage —up and down and around the sheltered back hill for a full five minutes—to a riveted audience of one.
I imagined a nest, for they seemed quite at home flitting in and out of the oaks and American Beeches. My spirit soared with gratitude for their choice so close to the parade of kitchen windows. I felt alert, keener to face the day.
Late morning, I was startled by the sound of birds squabbling. From the picture window facing the front garden, I watched two robins in a sparked encounter. They shrieked and circled in a winner-take-all round. Like the jays, they were young, likely fresh from the nest. A resident robin couple has nested in the garden for years. In seconds, one of the adults swooped down to break up the fight, causing the offspring to stop their encounter and fly off separately.
What were the odds on a day when my body and spirit felt weighted down, I would notice and become captivated by two bird events? For a few engaging minutes, I stepped out of my miasma into the fledglings’ world where I floated into memory and my own family.
As a young mother, I delighted in my children’s antics. Like the small jays and robins, my son and daughter scrambled, flitted, and fought with such vitality. I miss their presence, my own youthful energy, the promise of wings, of things to come. They are now full grown and parents. I am grateful for my nest of five grandchildren and their promise.