~thankful thursday~ fall crops and late bloomers


~30 days of gratitude~ day 7

Today I am grateful for a sunny estuary walk during my lunch break and the way the sunshine reflected so brightly off the bay that I had to squint my eyes. I am grateful for my husband who never seems to tire of walking around our yard with me, remarking on the angle of the sun, the way the light falls on a certain plant, tree, or object, the antics of the hummingbirds, or the antics of the cats looking out the window to spy on us. I am grateful to have farmed out the task of teaching my son to swim to a trusted mama friend, since I’m just a former lifeguard/swim team member/SCUBA certified marine biologist and couldn’t get him there. I am grateful for the good book I sat beside the pool reading, and for the window through which I could see a square of the pink-red-orange sunset sky while he worked at coordinating his limbs and breath. I am grateful I have one more night, this night, to spend with my kid at home before he goes to his dad’s. I am grateful for so much light today, a respite from contemplating the shadows.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 8

I am grateful for date night. Live music, shepherd’s pie with cheese and hot sauce, and the very best company. Together we will sail into the mystic.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 9

Today I am grateful for fresh veggies and favorable market conditions. While summer is an exhilarating rush of conversation fragments, fall proceeds at a more deliberate pace. The fleeting fruits of summer, the heirloom tomatoes with muscular sun-tanned shoulders that must be eaten immediately, the intoxicatingly fragrant basil that will wilt if you forget about it for a day or two, have been replaced by the sturdy parsnips and rutabagas, the stout kabochas and butternuts, friends who can cope with a little neglect while you are also moving at a slower, more ponderous fall pace, with perhaps more frequent nacho nights inserted in the weekly menu. This is not a competition between summer and fall crops, and if it was, it would easily be won by the sungolds and shishitos, sweet corn and charentais, the succulent fruits that accumulate the most summer sunshine into their cells, and these fickle friends are preserved in my chest freezer to see me through until they can be fresh again. But each year my appreciation grows for the sustaining roots and sturdy kales, the pie pumpkins made to have and to hold and to store and to keep us fed through the long winter. Today I participated in another of my favorite mindfulness practices, one concerning impermanence, like sand painting but with squashes, already scattered and but a memory. Tomorrow I will fill the slow cooker with leek and potato, celeriac and parsley root, and some imaginal cells to remind me that next summer will unfurl its colorful wings in time.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 10

Today I am grateful for getting to sit in my trusty Adirondack chair in the sunny backyard, by the wedding trees, talking to my mom on the phone. I am grateful for Rich sweeping the whole house (just one way that he sweeps me off my feet) and doing my laundry for me while I was catching up with Mom. I am grateful for a Sunday drive date along the Bay Road to pick up movies, and grateful for a moon date, again in the back yard, again with Rich, who called me to come outside and watch the nearly full moon rising over the ridge. I am grateful for the moon itself, bringing light to the darkness. I am grateful for a day with minimal agenda and maximum fresh air. Time to ladle up two bowls of gratitude soup from the slow cooker, slice some warm bread, and pop in a movie.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 11

It was my Mom’s birthday one month ago, and I was leaving on a visit to go and see her for her birthday (I got there the next morning.) I am so grateful for my Mom. She was the subject of the 3rd gratitude post ever, and has been mentioned numerous other times, but I think I’ve been over how I feel about repeating my gratitudes: kitties, wood stove fires, and nachos, oh my! I’m still grateful, so they bear repeating!

Mom has had a rough year, health-wise, and as the darkness starts to wrap around us for the season, the horizon is finally starting to lighten up for her. The health stuff is her story to tell, not mine, but what is mine is my concern for her, and my difficulty being so far away when things are hard on her.

One thing about my Mom that I am more grateful for all the time, is that she is willing to be vulnerable about her feelings. Without knowing to appreciate it, I think I absorbed a lot of the wisdom of that as I grew up. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and there is something so refreshing about that to me. When I have raw feelings, she is one of the first go-to people I know I can say them to; she’s not intimidated by them. I think she knows I can handle hearing about hers as well. She didn’t unload them on us as kids – her parent/child boundaries were good, and she never asked for us to take care of her emotions. However, now that we’re both grown-ups, I think we both appreciate each other as sounding board. Our chat the other day ranged from B vitamins to systematic executive functioning scaffolding removal to coparenting challenges to sewing projects, but all with attention paid to the emotional landscape.

Mom is also an intrepid learner, and that includes topics such as looking inward to see how she can grow as a person. I witnessed some amazing butterfly-level transformation in her this year in that realm. I felt lucky to be included in the inspiring conversation.

She is the best Grammy, and no heartstring pluck can compare to the ones I experience when I see Quinn enfolded in her arms each time they are reunited.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 12

I started typing this one month ago, but it seems fitting, so I finished typing it today.

My ears popped. I opened my eyes to see the horizon through the window of the seat in front of me. Above it pink, below it, what my eyes told me was ocean. Sunrise, coming in for a landing in Newark. The way I remember New Jersey is from the waters around Cape May, 20 years ago. On this day it would just be a layover on my way to New York. I remembered a butterfly landing on the deck of a schooner off the Cape, wondering whether it was off course or had intended to fly so far out over the ocean.

Migrations. I was flying back again in October where I had just been in August. The blue part of the world below the horizon resolved itself into land in addition to ocean, smokestacks and urban clutter, orderly chaos from so high up. Land, sea, sky, the edge of everything, the convergence of elements. We flew towards the eastern horizon until the sun stabbed spears of red light up over the horizon, its rising accelerated at exactly the air speed velocity of our plane. The quickened sunrise cast a pink glow throughout the upright seat backs and tray tables as we prepared for arrival.

Arrivals. The butterflies are arriving in their wintering grounds, but it would be slightly amiss to call it their homeland. The ones arriving in Mexico now have never tasted that air until now, though they somehow knew how to get there. They are the concentric circles, the tree rings, containing the previous three generations of monarchs who flew North last spring and summer, living, reproducing, and dying in three-week intervals, brief flaming orange wings barely a flicker of existence before their lives funneled into the lives of their offspring, their own flame extinguished. The overwintering super generation are the great grandchildren of the monarchs who left there last spring headed North. Like their great grandparents, they will live eight times as long as their parents, the one generation in four who will fly over the whole migratory path, and not just a fraction of it.

I have flown a lot this year, thousands of miles, so perhaps it makes sense that monarchs have become my mascot for this gratitude season. The timing of our August visit to New York happened to coincide ever so well with a peak of their travel through the neighborhood. The October trip I took solo, and I saw one single monarch, a late migrant. Warming in the colorful tree canopy when I got near, it fluttered down to the ground and landed on purple clover. After a snack, it rose once again, this time hurtling over the canopy and off to the South, Mexico or bust.

I am grateful for the safety of the flights my family have made this year, the miracle of flight itself, overlapping generations, and late blooming kindred spirits on the wing.



~30 days of gratitude~ day 13

I am grateful to live in such a beautiful place, where I can stop before work to see the full moon setting over the ocean, and then stop again after work and see the sun setting over the ocean. Some days I just need to look upon something bigger than all of it.

1 comment to ~thankful thursday~ fall crops and late bloomers

  • Camp boss

    I guess that makes me a stout butternut squash…a friend who can cope with a little neglect…;- We need t schedule another fireside visit! I so look forward to Thursday morning in November so I enjoy your purposeful thankfulness!!! I would have enjoyed it with a nice cuppa but Wombat felt that unnecessary and spilled it all over the floor!!

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