Thursday, November 22, 2007


1. I’m blessed by whatever sequence of tiny events, triggering each other, modifying each other, building on each other, in order for this third planet from the sun to be what it is at this particular moment in time when I happen to be here. I take it to be an unfolding of creation entirely without a purposeful creator which nonetheless ended with apples and serpents, wars and lovers, dogs and cats, and all the seasons in their variety. I bless what is and it blesses me.

2. The gift from my mother at her death that made me able to buy this house in the very place where I wanted to be at the very time I needed it most.

3. My wandering history from Portland child to Chicago student to Blackfeet reservation teacher and lover to Portland animal control officer to Chicago student again -- this time on the south side -- to Montana circuit-rider to Kirkland bohemian to Saskatoon immigrant to Blackfeet Reservation -- this time at the south end -- to Portland civil servant to Valier, just off the Blackfeet Reservation at the SE toe. Now I’m grateful for staying put to think about it all.

4. The Welsh sisters, esp. the ones who bravely set off from Kilmarnock, Scotland, to the North American continent, marrying for better and for worse, keeping mostly to the West and creating a network of cousins who have only recently begun to find each other and sort themselves out.

5. Sam Strachan’s grandchildren, my own first cousins, esp. the ones with whom I grew up and the female cousins who have become almost sisters via email. And esp. for Scott, who sends me phone cards.

6. That I developed Diabetes 2 at a time when it can be diagnosed and addressed by stringent diet and constant attention, rather than fancy medicines or surgery.

7. Netflix! I could never had imagined it in advance! But also I’m grateful for being a child when movies were a Big Deal requiring a family expedition downtown and a Splurge at Jolly Joan’s afterwards.

8. I’m glad that my first war (I was born in 1939) was a righteous war that caused me to admire and revere soldiers no matter what has happened since or why they were military or even what country or cause they serve or what gender they are.

9. Cats are a blessing, esp. when they come to cuddle and purr and even when they rush out to do battle with their tails high and exploding with aggression.

10. I’m blessed by this web of Internet friends, esp. those who love books, write them and read them and review them -- all kinds. Even eBooks.

11. And I’m blessed by Blackfeet, Cree, Metis, and whatever other varieties have made a home on this reservation and been part of my life, whether working with me in the Scriver Studio or enduring me as students or arguing with me as an opponent.

12. And -- now lying latent -- the Unitarian Universalist connections that shift through congregations and life changes -- always different and always the same.

13. Big Ideas bless my life as I go hunting for “paradigm shifts” and “reframing” through my shelves of books and piles of downloads and magazines -- sometimes getting so excited that I can’t sleep at night.

14. I’m grateful to the University of Calgary Press for publishing my biography of Bob Scriver as I promised him I would do when I first met him a half-century ago. I’ll be even more grateful when the suspense is over the reactions begin to arrive, no matter what they are. And I’m grateful to for giving a home to the other books.

15. Houseplants make me grateful, whether the spider plants who like the house at 50 degrees or the geraniums who faithfully splash blood-red blooms in the sunlight of the south windows. I’m almost desperately grateful to the big silverleaf cottonwood just south of my house that loses its leaves in time to let winter’s raked sunlight flood through my south windows, but then makes a green, rustling parasol (para le sol) through the summer.

16. Likewise, we are all grateful to the snowfall, especially that which piles up in the mountains, rain engemmed into crystals and plates that will reach us next summer both in streams and underground through ancient layers of gravel.

17. Few are grateful to the wind. I am. Like the old Scot who slept with his foot out the window because it felt so good when he pulled it back in, I love the stillness that often comes in the night when the wind has stopped. Just as much, I love the hiss of snow on the windows and then the roaring when a Chinook arrives in winter.

18. I’m grateful for piped natural gas, so that I don’t have to find the resources to fill an oil tank out in the country, and grateful for my floor furnace where I stand with my hot coffee in the mornings with my nightgown billowing around me. And I’m just as grateful for my little cast iron stove in the garage and the idle but pleasing occupation of pushing sticks into it until there is a coruscating bed of orange coals and my cheeks are pink with heat. And for electricity.

19. I’m so pleased with my little kitchen appliances: the coffee grinder, the toaster, the waffle-maker, the food processor, the blender, the panini press, the microwave, the little grill for meat, the can-opener.

20. As well I give thanks for office gizmos: the stapler, the hole punch, the Rolodex, the file cabinet, the tape dispenser, the copy holder, the scissors and the (now defunct) binding machine.

21. Did I say how much I love the glass corner shower the handyman and I installed in the bathroom and the elegant white Victorian pedestal sink?

22. And did I mention my kitchen sink with a white counter and bright brass faucets? I’m so thankful that the handyman didn’t leave town until he’d helped me with these projects.

23. I’m thankful for the ancient crazy quilt that someone in my mother’s family made long ago from black velvet and wool plaid and peculiar prints on flannel, all carefully embroidered at the joinings and layered onto a paisley shawl, so that it’s an effective winter window drape beside me now.

24. My sewing machine is a blessing.

25. And this computer, eMac, all white and crystal.

1 comment:

Herdis said...

Thank you for this. It really made me smile, especially the part of the cats and the woodstove. We share the same feelings for our home and surroundings, even if we are very far apart.
Best Regards
Herdis Brandstrup