It’s Thanksgiving morning at my house, and I’m sitting on the couch with my family watching the Macy’s Day parade. We just came in from a walk along the river, the wind biting and cold, and soon we’ll be heading back out for the annual football game. But for now, we’re enjoying the coziness of a beautiful house in Sunriver. It’s easy to feel grateful here, to feel warm and thankful for the so many blessings I enjoy.
Listen, I try really hard to live a life of gratitude. To focus on the positive, and stay optimistic, to practice gratitude that turns everything into enough. Most of the time it works! It really does. But there are also days where I’m tired and working too hard or a thousand little things go wrong and I’m hard pressed to think of a single thing I’m grateful for. I returned actually to last year’s post of little gratitudes a few times over this last year because it worked—all those sweet, intangible moments of gratitude that I thought up in my more generous moments. I’m grateful for the big things, of course: my health, my dog, my family and their health. But the little things count for something, too.
So here’s this year’s little list, in the spirit of gratitude for another year:
The sound of Lake of the Woods lapping on the shore. Plunging into cold water on a hot day. Waking up well-rested. Laughing until you cry (see also: laughing until you wheeze). Looking at photos people who love you take of you, so you see how lovely you look in their eyes. Opening a new book I can tell will consume me. The good music that plays at New Seasons, and when you walk down an aisle and see someone else mouthing the words to the song. My grandparents holding hands. Hugging old friends I haven’t seen in too long. Climb nights with my aunt and sister. Coming home at the end of the night to the porch light on and a candle burning in the kitchen. When Cedar puts his paw on my arm while we’re driving. Friendly check-out people at Trader Joe’s. Walking barefoot on sun-warmed soil. Talks with my sister on the phone that go on and on and on, but never feel long. Waiting for sunrise with my dad, sitting on a hill somewhere. Driving east through the Gorge, heading for the ranch. The way my mom belly laughs. Writing a sentence that feels exactly right. The way the light looks in my room on sunny summer mornings. Mess around nights with my big sister. Seeing the edge of a ridge line meet the sky. A new song on the radio you can already tell you’re going to love. My legs turning over and over on a good run. The specific confidence born of a good date. My garden in every season: fallow, budding, fertile, fading. Hanging out with my Uncle in the wood shop. Late night dance sessions in the car on the way home. The intro music to my favorite podcasts. Long walks with Cedar with lots of sniff stops. Driving at night. The first rain after the hot summer. Falling asleep to the sound of my roommates talking in the other room. Walking into my parents’ house and hearing my dad say, Hey L, are you hungry? Late nights with my cousins, out at sparkly bars. Finding a restaurant that feels like home. Talking to writer friends about writing. When my students email me and say thank you for understanding.
And finally, I want to acknowledge that today my family and I are on the ancestral land of the Warm Springs native people, and recognize that we are here today because of the sacrifices they were forced to make. Let’s not forget that Thanksgiving is often white-washed, but it also the hallmark of Native American Genocide.
With that, there you have it, friends. Another year of living true and well. Here’s to many more!