~thankful thursday~ caterpillar care



~30 days of gratitude~ day 12

After I posted, I wondered if speaking of placentas yesterday made anyone uncomfortable. I’m not apologizing, but I would like to say for myself that I’ve never honestly had any squeamishness about such things and sometimes forget other people do. I blame my Dad, who called me out to the barn to help deliver any calf that was stuck (or breach, or twins), and we were a good life-bringing, life-saving team. Placentas have always been a part of my surroundings, familiar and sacred.

Mom called today to tell me Dad is spending the night in the hospital tonight. Everything will be fine, but he passed out and his heart rate dropped a scary amount when they put in his IV for a routine procedure he was supposed to be having. I am feeling very grateful tonight for the quick response of the health care workers who were by his side, and those who rushed in until he was completely surrounded. By the time I talked to Mom, he had eaten dinner and napped and was ready to leave, but they convinced him to wait until after the EKG.

When I was driving today I swerved to avoid a rabbit on the highway, and I am grateful I did not hit it. I was coming home from feeding my fish, which is not that different, in my mind, than the work I grew up doing around the farm. I developed the right muscle groups for hauling buckets of water around, for sure, and caring for animals is in my veins. I am grateful my Dad made me do all those farm chores, so grateful that he is okay, and immensely grateful for the medical team who are making sure of that.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 13

Grateful. (In photos today.)



~30 days of gratitude~ day 14

I am grateful for my farm, and my farm crew. At the end of our veggie day, four women stood in a parking lot and decided that word of our farm stand’s new rainy day location had happily spread “faster than corona.” A remarkably steady trickle of our regular customers came and stocked up on soup ingredients. And they told two friends, and they told two friends… we figured people were ecstatic to have some good news to pass on, so they did. Gratitude is a wonderful ingredient to add to November cooking, and I came home with a good-sized bundle of it.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 15

I am grateful for a little time in person today, hiking with my kid. With the increasing COVID numbers, he stayed even farther away from me than our last few biweekly hikes, but he did agree to come. Our first pandemic hike back in June was the subject of the essay I wrote and ended up submitting for the writing workshop I am attending, in which I observed that, “Wandering in a wilderness area together all day is unlike our hour-long video calls in all ways, but most acutely in that I am positioned beside the waterfall of his imagination like I have not been in months. The story comes spilling forth of a pod of whimsical dragons hatched out of colorful eggs…”

Today the waterfall of imagination poured out a quest in which I was meant to establish a civilization in a landscape he vividly described, then challenged me to decide where and how to build shelter, how to best provision myself with food, how to build tools with the various materials available to be gathered. He came up with a name for these “Talking Games” when he was very small, and still likes to play them now that he is very big. In the game, I set out on a hunting mission like any good Oregon Trail generation kid would do, but the story took a left turn and instead, I ended up finding a rare white deer who healed the deer I had speared, licking its wound until it closed, and then became my companion when I fed it a magical root and vowed to never hunt its kin again.

On our biweekly hike, we are not going for any speed or distance records. Instead, he stops to look at each caterpillar crossing the path. When this occurs on the dirt road before we get to the trailhead, he helps them to the edge. He uses his walking stick to move them, waiting for them to climb onto it, and then moves them to safety.

Today I am grateful for the kids who care about caterpillars.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 16

I’m grateful for gratitude. It’s usually around this time in the month that I feel grateful for gratitude, I think (and I’m not fact-checking that because it’s bedtime). I really did not think it would be the same as other years, because it isn’t like the other years in any other way. I am filled with a multitude of emotions, and nothing at all is simple. But I am warm, (relatively) safe, content, loved. Having retreated into my home, I find it is a place within which I can expand, rather than a place of confinement. I think this snail from October might agree to be my mascot tonight, since I don’t have any photos of my rare white deer. I’m also grateful for the bunches of you nice people bothering to stop scrolling and connect for a moment.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 17

Today I am thankful for the refuge I find in nature. It can be as simple as the hummingbirds buzzing Rich’s head as he leaves for work, the apricot-lit reflection of a cloud in the water we walk down to every day, a pinecone colonized by tiny mushrooms, or a newt comically toppling off the side of a large spruce root we had just stood watching it laboriously climb. It’s the little things. It’s also the big things; the wind bathing us in fresh air after a year in which breathing has become much more sacred, the eagle dancing above the rainbow-glazed waterfall at the low-tide-without-storm-during-daylight I enjoyed solo the other day, a unicorn of a tide this time of year, with rainbow sprinkles on top.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 18

Elements are often a favorite theme Quinn explores in his Talking Games. He is inspired by games like Pokémon, Magic the Gathering, D&D, and many of the book series he has devoured throughout his childhood. He favors forest/tree/leaf/grass types himself, and we recognize as a family that I am of the water element, while Rich is of fire. I have always loved the phrase that someone is “in their element,” and I love to be around a person in that state, soaking up (see? Water) whatever I can learn from them. The person on my mind today is my father-in-law, whose element is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, Rock. He embodies this element in his steadfast, stable personality, his imperviousness to pain, his unwavering faith, his matter-of-factness when going about chores, and when he is in his element, he can be found tumbling, grinding, polishing, and sawing through rocks. Each of the few visits we have shared have been gems. On our last visit to Oklahoma, he gave me a lapidary lesson, and it was a highlight of our time together. Today I am grateful for Bob.


Postscript for those reading it on the blog…

Both Dads could use prayer. Dad Rew is home and healthy and repairing things, but is awaiting test results and answers so please keep him in your thoughts. Dad Hicks is in the hospital just days after Dad Rew, and we would appreciate all good thoughts/chants/prayers heading towards Oklahoma on his behalf.

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