|Blueberry Blossoms and Fall Foliage|
Sometimes I feel discouraged. There is so much sadness in the world. Terrorism, war, violence, famine, poverty, suffering, pollution, climate change, habitat loss, extinction...the list goes on. The problems are so huge and I feel so small. There are days when I have a hard time mustering the strength to hike or photograph or write. They all take caring, and when you care you become vulnerable. What's the point in caring if it can all be taken away with a back room deal or a toxic spill or a semi-automatic rifle? It's enough to drive a person to despair. But then come the reminders that the world is also full of beauty and goodness--an act of kindness from a stranger, laughter, love, golden autumn leaves, the sweet sound of sparrows, a breath of cool, fresh air. When I look for the good, the beautiful, the amazing, the things that I am grateful for, I regain that strength to care again. I feel again like it is all worth loving and fighting for. Gratitude needs to be practiced. It doesn't just happen. I read this quote from William Faulkner that summed it up for me: "Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all." Though it is not yet the New Year, I resolve to search for that ray of sunshine every day, even when the daily news just sucks. And maybe I'll just turn off the news for a while, too.
Here is what has been making me feel grateful this past week: Spending Thanksgiving and my birthday with my wonderful daughters and their husbands, the love and companionship of my own dear husband, having a warm home and food on the table and having enough to share, our loving and funny pet dogs and cat, good health, a warm wood stove on cold nights, the stark beauty of a dried wildflower, the season's first flock of Cedar Waxwings (11/22/15 for the almanac) and a Northern Slimy Salamander in the basement. That's a good jumpstart. I feel better already.
|Northern Slimy Salamander found in the Basement--Salamander Habitat almost makes up for the wet basement issues|