Thursday, October 8, 2015

October 7, 2015

There are days when just one seemingly small, but beautiful thing can set the tone for all that follows. A genuine smile from a stranger, a favorite song at just the right time, getting up a few minutes early so as to be able to enjoy rather than endure the morning routine, a well worn mug, a hummingbird visiting the streptocarpella and so forth and so on.  It can be a million things or anything really, but the constants are always an openness to receive and a grateful spirit. Yesterday I was the very embodiment of thankful acceptance.  I'm writing this here now not to pat myself on the back, but as a reminder that what I give is what I receive.  I'll be needing this reminder.

I want to come clean here. I toil through more days - days that feel heavy and arduous - than I celebrate. I
t's work to be happy and grateful.  Hard work. Rewarding work too.  Not unlike the work it takes to have a good marriage or rich relationships. And there are days that I simply cannot give what it takes to get what I want. 

But yesterday...yesterday was one of the good ones from start to finish...from the moment Tigger woke me purring in my ear and patting my face to when I struggled to keep my eyes open for one more page reading beside my girl.  It certainly helped that it was the kind of day I can only imagine Anne of Green Gables was referencing when she shared how grateful she was to live in a world where there are Octobers.  It was bright and breezy.  I had the day to myself, but I had plenty to do much of which was not categorically exciting. Who looks at to dos like laundry, clean out the fridge, make weeknight dinner, exercise and dentist with unbridled enthusiasm?  Yet there is satisfaction, if not joy, in it all.  

Every load of laundry is an exercise in gratitude.  I feel blessed to have the convenience of a washer and dryer in my home.  I think of all of the families that don't, and suddenly this chore seems like a luxury.  And all these clothes and linens that need washing...well, I'm grateful for them too.  As I purge the spoils, I am once again very aware of abundance.  For us it is not will we eat, but what will we eat?  What are we hungry for?  What do we want?  To have all of our needs met and most of our desires fed is privilege many do not understand.  Rotten bananas become muffins for the day's after school snack.  I feel it is my duty to use as much as not waste.  The night's dinner was Grandpa's Beef Stew and so assembling the ingredients is much more than following a recipe.  It is an homage to family history and free therapy with a secret ingredient known as heart.  Love.  Truthfully, I've changed up the recipe over the years, but the one thing that will be in every beef stew I ever make is my Grandpa's memory.  I miss him, but I could hear him humming while I chopped and seared.  The day was too sublime to stay indoors so I walked my usual route, but I wasn't exactly looking forward to it.  It makes no sense either because I've never finished exercising and regretted it. I always feel good...better.  My perpetual resistance is unexplainable.  Yesterday the trail was abuzz. Fat caterpillars crossed the path in what appeared to me a mass exodus from what is to come.  I rounded a corner by the lagoon and came face to face with a young doe.  "Hi there," I said a little startled.  She looked at me and then away.  For a split second, I fumbled to take a picture, but then I refrained and let the encounter go undocumented.  Ten steps beyond I surprised a heron standing in the shallows.  Again I greeted and passed feeling grateful for my legs and lungs and Mother Nature. Cleaned and flossed I felt relieved to be given a six month stay.  Even dental care, healthy teeth, a nice hygienist and dentist deserve a dose of gratitude.

After school, Lily and I had a date at the apple farm with our friend Honeycrisp.  We drove through the golden fields to the country and I felt an overload of goodness and gratitude.  The trees closest to the road were mostly picked over, but as we made our way further into the orchard, we found plenty of beauts. Peace and solitude too.  We filled up our bags with fruit and our afternoon with abundance and togetherness.
The kids went to practices and Mike came home.  We poured cocktails and chatted while we whipped up Julia Child's Garlic Mashed Potatoes to go with that stew.  The sauteing cloves smelled sweet and nutty while the breeze blowing in through the window delivered woodsy notes and felt crisp against my skin.   I was content at the end of the day.  Full.  Happy. Grateful.

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