Sunday, January 2, 2011

gratitude, a list to start the year

The last few days of the year, I just felt too reclusive to try and get words down for a final day of gratitude.

Not because I'm not grateful. For things big and little. (For fish red and blue).

Because I am. Because this project, started by Jote and expanded outward at her invitation, has had the lovely effect of making me appreciate so many of the tiny things that make my days so bright. and thus, a list of gratitudes, great and small.

1. home. these walls, this space. on a fundamental level (having shelter, my needs met) but also on a more etherial one. that there's a large apartment, full of my life. where I'm happy.

2. a glass of wine on a Sunday night. or any night, but it happens to be Sunday as I start this.

3. the women with whom I walk, individually. No metaphors here, but there are 3 women with whom I semi-frequently walk. Women with whom my friendships have developed in the regular pace of our strides through the city. Sometimes it takes a week or a month of emails to fit our schedules, but it's a wonderful combination of fresh air and conversation.

4. travel, and coming home.

5. photographs. El Bandito has become the photographer in our relationship. Sometimes, it frustrates me when he stops to capture something on a trailside and I want to keep going, but I love having our lives documented. And he's a damn good photographer too.

6. dogs. Not our dogs, sadly -- living in an urban apartment and having very full lives has made having dogs nigh unto impossible. In college, I used to borrow a couple of fabulous canine companions, and I miss them. and the jumbled joy of canine company.

7. the great lake. Oh, I know there are 5 of them, but only one of them is *my* lake. I got a few strolls lakeside, with its wide-open horizon and cold winds, in our recent travels. it's a touchstone.

8. the way this set of posts reminded me of how lucky I am to have the partner I do, but also showed me that other people are just as fully intertwined with the loves-of-their-lives as I am. Especially poignant for me in that two of our good friends separated in December; I don't know whether their roads will converge again and it's a tricky balancing act because I care about them both, individually. So it was reassuring, comforting and delightful to read half-a-dozen posts of strong women loving. And to know someone else tosses her book onto her husband's pillow rather than turn over.

9. running two easy miles on a rainy Sunday. my ankle didn't complain. my lungs didn't complain. it felt easy again.

10. the fridge is full of tasty and healthy ingredients.

11. starting off the new year with a clean bedroom, even if we haven't unpacked our suitcases. El Bandito attacked the room with a vigor .

12. a cat melted across my legs. these cats. the hours of entertainment and purring snuggles. their predecessors, who taught me life lessons in a way I can't explain.

13. lack of obligation to finish this in a timely manner, as 48 hours elapsed while I worked and edited a freelance job and went for another run.

14. merino wool shirts. I bought one for hiking in 2009, and quickly added several more when I realized how perfect they were for drizzly weather or as a base layer.

15. catching an hour's stroll with a friend between the holidays and her departure on vacation. a quick catch-up.

16. the passing of the solstice and the growing length of the days. I know it's only a few minutes, but the difference out my office window at 4 pm is astounding.

17. precision.

18. being awed. I know that might sound odd, but sometimes, the world is so astounding, there's no other word. that my life is so full of things that can truly overwhelm me with their beauty or brilliance? something to be grateful for indeed.

19. vacation time. limited, but needed. and concurrently, the tickets we just bought to go to an island antipode known for nocturnal flightless birds and the setting for a trilogy of movies.

20. napkins, silverware, glass food storage containers -- somehow, eating with real utensils out of a glass dish makes leftovers at my desk a more enjoyable experience than plastic.

21. the wonders of the internet. not just for the connections with random strangers, but for the reconnection with old friends.

22. the way that this project enticed and challenged me to actually post to my neglected blog.

Nowhere near all the things or people that ought to be on a list of gratitude, but enough to start the year on the right note. Enough to remind me that my life is truly a grand adventure. Perhaps, even, enough to bring me back to add to this list throughout the year.

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