Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

day 16 of a month of Thanksgiving: medical technology (& insurance) ~

Despite what it may look like, this is NOT a torture device. And it’s not really a toe screw (which IS  an official instrument of torture).  Nope, this is what I’m grateful for today: my newest in a long line of weird foot gear…

It’s subbing for another painful, disorienting, and EXPENSIVE surgical procedure. So I’m verrry glad to have it. Even if it doesn’t work — and it seems to be, albeit verrry sloooowly — it doesn’t HURT.

But here’s the deal: without insurance? I’d just have to gimp along. Painfully, as that’s the way one gimps w/out joint replacement, when they (the joints) wear out. Luckily, I have insurance, and the joint replacement to prove it. And yet another addition to my collection of ‘boots’ (sigh… sooo not the cowboy boots I once wore!)  Still,  today I’m very grateful for the wonders of medical technology and the insurance that allows me to avail myself of them. Even if this is NOT a fashion statement.

My toe screw (I know — I said it wasn’t a real one, but that’s what we call it :)) is a mixed blessing, as are many of the things I find myself contemplating these days. Aging — great to know more stuff. Not so cool to be gimpy. Retirement: great to have more time, but where is it?? Autumn: wonderful fall colours and weather, but that means winter is right around the corner…! Thanksgiving with wonderful family… etc. You get the drift.

So this 16th day of this month of Thanksgiving, what do you find to be grateful for? Even if it’s a two-edged sword,…?

 

day 15 of Thanksgiving: everyday moments ~

the curve of a tree limb against blue sky

a patch of yellow asters spangled with blue & black butterflies

how fresh-ground coffee tastes on a cold damp morning

the smell of November roses

This is the kind of thing I’m thankful for today. Nothing spectacular, for most folks. But every now & then, my very ordinary life flickers into a kind of transcendent focus, and the smallest details seem almost redemptive.

Today? A fat mourning dove fluttering up from the feeding platform as I walked out to add sunflower seed. The reliable ray of warm sun that seems perfectly aimed at the rocker by the back door. The anticipation of a very ordinary meatloaf for dinner. Not to mention the scamper of a happy dog, the satisfaction of one line of poetry well-written. Or two perfectly ripe pears in a ruby glass bowl…

Look around your ordinary life… What’s crept up on you? What’s just waiting for you to notice…?

 

day 14 of Thanksgiving ~

Today’s a bittersweet thank-you. A poet I love dearly — Jack Gilbert – died yesterday. Gilbert was one of the (many) poets who helped me shape my own craft. But even had I not also been a writer, I don’t see how I could have not loved his work. Loved the quiet accommodation to his singularly lonely life, and the peace he found in the trees & rocks & doors around him…

So today I give thanks for the many poets who have saved my life. Sometimes quite literally: sent me a ‘message in a bottle,’ as the Indigo Girls said of Virginia Woolf (who while not a poet, certainly also helped me make sense of my crazy life). May Sarton, Dnise Levertov, Mark Doty, Seamus Heaney, Robert Hayden, Robert Hass. Auden, great heart…

Others lifted me out of inchoate grief or loneliness or anger: Yusuf Komunyakaa & Linda Pastan & Mary Oliver & Pattiann Rogers. While still others gave me laughter as I marvelled at their craft: Billy Collins & Merwin & Neruda & Kunitz. So many poets, so little time…:)

Of all the things I give thanks for this month, closest to who I am are these poets. They have been, far more often than I have shared, the mechanisms driving the wounded heart, the lost mind, the broken body. Gilbert was an important one.

Each is far greater in scope than an ordinary writer. Still… Like chatoyant stones in light, so often their words have shifted into some kind of meaning for my life. And that’s more than enough to be very grateful for…

the middle of Thanksgiving ~

For many of us, Thanksgiving lasts a month. Each day I use Facebook to share something for which I’m grateful. It may be as small as the sunlight that hits the deck chair exactly right on a brisk fall day, or as large as the amazement I feel that my nieces & nephews want to share Thanksgiving w/ us enough to cook. :)

I’ve mentioned before that I keep a gratitude journal. So it’s not unusual for me to be grateful :). But somehow, putting my thankfulness out into the public sphere is different than writing it down within the snug confines of my small black book. For one thing, I tag people when I refer to them: a higher-up, a sister, a friend, the nieces & nephews. Because it’s nice for people to know they’re special. And this time of year, as light wanes and energies seem to follow, how lovely is it hear your own praises sung? And to be honest, it makes me far happier to praise them than it can possibly make them to hear it … :)

Today I’m grateful for left-overs. Really! I’m trying to do some major projects (one of which is NOT going well), and when lunch time came, energy had moved out of the house, along w/ the autumn light… But wait: there was roast beef left from Sunday, which means one of my favourite lunches — a cold roast beef sandwich! What’s better than a great meal when you’re tired & a bit discouraged w/ your progress?

So here’s my suggestion: let’s share what we’re grateful for these next 2+ weeks. As simple as good chocolate, as complex as a new relationship. Share the wealth! Tell us what you’re thankful for this month of Thanksgiving ~

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