“In all things we should try to make ourselves be as grateful as possible…” (Seneca), from today’s Daily Stoic reading.
I’m grateful I could spend the holiday weekend with one of my daughters and a close friend and granddog, Beau. We ate, laughed, talked. Had hot chocolate with peppermint sticks, worked on puzzles, had a fire outside and enjoyed weather that was really too good for December, and took two good walks. We watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Scrooged, and A Christmas Story. Coming in one night from looking at Christmas lights downtown, we looked up, and the sky was filled with stars…gave me goosebumps. There are always stresses, but there’s also always something to be grateful for, and for me, it’s these simple, beautiful things.
It’s Monday morning. I’m sitting on my porch and realize it’s quieter than most Mondays. It sounds and feels more like a Sunday, but it’s Memorial Day, the time for remembrance and honor, a day off work and school for many, a day of barbecues and picnics and the kick-off of the summer vacation season for others.
Even though this is a more somber holiday, and in fact I’ve often wondered if it’s appropriate to say Happy Memorial Day when we are honoring people who have died, there is that holiday expectant feeling in the air for me. It happens without intention. The occasional car I hear, I wonder, where are they going? What are their plans this day, this week?
The weather is cool, like earlier spring, so that I could almost use a sweater, as I have goosebumps on my arms. The begonias and Christmas cacti here on the porch seem none the worse for wear, though, after a chillier night and morning.
I love the mornings, the way the young sunlight filters through the trees, the glimpses of pale blue sky. I adore the stillness and quiet, though traffic is picking up, and I hear machinery running across the road somewhere, the occasional human voice and slamming door, then suddenly it’s quiet again for a brief few seconds, which seems right for a day of memorial. I’m alone, yet I’m not. Nature is all around, and its own little sounds of bird call and breeze are comforting and nurturing. The birds know nothing of Memorial Day as they sing and call and chirp and flit from tree to tree, nor the bunny as he basks in the sun over in the driveway, nor all the other little critters in the yard and trees, as Nature goes about another day.
I’m thankful for this day, this time, and for all those who gave their lives to help make this life possible for me.
Even with so many stressful and upsetting things going on in the world, there are lots of things I’m grateful for. My family and the technology to keep me in touch with them, the sweet cats that share my home, a few days off from work to relax, good food to eat, enjoyable movies to watch, and as always, beautiful Nature all around me. I hope you have a good day, too.
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”
“The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”
Thoreau is a favorite among us pantheists. When I was a teenager, long before I would come to identify as a pantheist, I was drawn to Thoreau and Walden. I knew that book was important, and it resonated with me, even though I wasn’t quite ready at that time to pursue my own connection with nature and its importance in my life.
(Photo of Thoreau courtesy of Library of Congress)