Thanks. No really, I mean it.

November 25, 2010

So often these days I feel like my life is one big trudge uphill, with little breaks now and then during which I bang my head against a stone wall. Daily life sucks up hours for chores, just for maintenance of daily life. And it seems like every other thing I go to do, well, two or three other things interject themselves, requiring attention before I can accomplish what I started out to do.

You know, when you go to run the vacuum, but first you have to replace the bag, and then for some reason the electrical breaker pops, so you have to go flip it, and in the dark (’cause some of the lights went when the breaker tripped) you knock over a plant and the pot shatters and the dirt spews …

Yeah, like that. And then the vacuum doesn’t seem to be doing a good job, which as it turns out is because there’s string and a rubber band caught in the brushes. So, you open the kitchen drawer for the scissors, and the drawer comes off the track, dumping utensils all over the floor. And the scissors aren’t there anyway (I guess someone borrowed them) so you grab a paring knife because that would work, but it’s not sharp, and neither are the other two paring knives you grab off the magnetic strip on the wall.

Of course fortunately you know where the sharpening stone is because it fell out of that drawer that hurled contents on the floor. Well, that’s a glimmer, anyway.

But (and of course), in the process of pulling all three paring knives off the strip, the screw that was barely holding it to the wall gives way, the entire bar swings loose from one end, and all the remaining knives slide to the floor—behind the stove.

Yep. That’s about how my life has been going. Like giant dominoes lined up awaiting a little flick, sending things tumbling.

So in the midst of the tick-tock tumbling of the dominoes, it is often difficult for me to feel grateful. Trudge trudge trudge. Head bang. Trudge some more.

I mean, my life is not awful. On most scales my life is amazing. Blessed. And I can tally up many pages of the aspects and elements of my life that I appreciate and do count as blessings. But in the midst of head-banging and trudging, the tallying is intellectual—not so much from the heart.

I want to feel more grateful from the heart, not my head.

I am working on that. I am trying to mark the circumstances when I feel blessed, and put myself into such circumstances more often.

Like, dawdling during sunsets such the one in my photo above. I know that the sky changing colors brings me joy, and joy is the experience of gratitude. So.

This morning I walked for a long time. It was a quiet morning, being Thanksgiving and all; the huge mining trucks loaded with ore were not rumbling by on the highway. And there’s something about a blanket of snow on the ground that amplifies the silence.

As I walked, I caught sight of a large clump of white moving through the trees across the highway, and it emerged to reveal that it was a tail, attached to the black body of an eagle. A huge one. And I just stood and watched it fly. And watched some more. And soaked up some morning peace.

I walked some more, and heard a strange knocking sound, slightly like a doe using her hooves to tap a keep-away warning, but not quite. I moved slowly closer to the sound, not wanting to startle this creature (especially! if it was a deer sending a keep-away signal), and finally I could tell that a woodpecker was making the noise. Perhaps because the temperature was so low (just 10° F) the tree bark was frozen and so the pecks sounded more bold; see it was a very small woodpecker, perhaps six inches tall, making a helluva racket.

So in the span of fifteen minutes, my morning was blessed with a majestic eagle, and the force of a tiny woodpecker. I felt grateful—a gratitude not bidden by thought, not prodded by list making.

What I’m trying to say here is, happy Thanksgiving. I might not always let you know that I am grateful … but.

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