Gratitude: Day One

I need to get back into the habit of writing. If I expect my students to write, I should write. Frequently. And I really don’t write much at all, except when I am asked to write letters of recommendation for students and friends.

I have tried to sit down and write so many times in the past few years. You can see the evidence of the fits and starts here in my blog. I’ll write one thing then not come back to write again for weeks, month, and maybe even one time a year.

I decided just now—ten minutes ago—to write my three gratitudes here each night before I go to bed as a sort of meditation and a time to think back through my day.

Today I am grateful for beautiful, sweet tasting, moist heirloom navel oranges I found at Payless and the way their flavor rested heavy on my tongue as I ate my lunch today. They smelled of light fragrant flowers, reminding me of visiting Merideth in Florida and having to drive through the orange grove to get to her house, but their taste was heavy and serious and made me reflect back on a time when I stayed at the Palmer House in Chicago with my family, and we went to Palmer House Steak and Seafood for breakfast or brunch. The place was so fancy, we almost felt uncomfortable, and my mom was so happy her blue eyes sparkled like jewels, and my dad was so excited about the food he kept trying to guess where the chickens were raised (if you know my dad, you know). My brother and I both ordered the fresh squeezed orange juice, which came out in wine glasses, like we had ordered the most expensive mimosas. We were enamored with the waiter and the way he scraped the table with a little plastic object like a credit card to remove our crumbs between courses. To this day, I wonder what we had to give up throughout the rest of the year to afford that hotel, that brunch, and that orange juice.

Today I am grateful for my love dog, Luna the Squish. Last night she killed a baby possum in the yard, and it was horrible and terrible and I cried a lot, not only because an animal died, but because possums are my favorite animal, aside from my Squish. She thought it was a toy and played with it until it took a nap with its guts on the outside, as my sister-in-law says. This dog has seen me through two of the most difficult years of my life, and I know will see me through a couple more. Whenever I am sad, or lonely, or need a laugh her big head with an even bigger smile is here for me. She isn’t exceptionally friendly to other people or other animals, but she doesn’t really need to be.

Today I am grateful for reading out loud and the great joy that it brings to me. My students don’t appreciate the art of a well-read text, but they will before they leave high school. Reading out loud is perhaps one of the greatest joys in this life. Taking words from a page, making meaning, breathing life into them, and sharing them with others. What a beautiful connection between the writer, the message, and the listener!

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