Coming Back to Gratitude

“Anything dead coming back to life hurts.” – I have repeated this phrase so often, written it so often, that it is completely removed from its origin Beloved. Maybe not removed, but it has spilled over and is my own personal truth.

I have Reynaud’s, which means a couple of times a month my feet or my hands turn white, then – warming – turn black briefly. And it hurts. The circulation beginning again, blood pushing into constricted spaces, hurts.

Today I am lurching around the house after this morning’s run. My Achilles is stiff, clenched, and doesn’t want to play. But I’ve been here before, and in a week or so it will be alright again.

So far into spring now that even at 6 am we’ve missed the sunrise. If I run before writing in the mornings, I think we can catch another week of pink skies before running at sunrise becomes an unreasonable idea.

This year it makes me sad to think about having missed a season. A spring. Orange mornings and noticing the gradual increase of bird song. I am not whipping myself for being ill, but I can count the number of springs I may have left. It is easy to get snagged by the fear. To get stuck among the losses, and moving forward takes a surprising amount of effort. It’s almost painful.

I don’t want to waste another spring.

Because of my Achilles I stopped for a minute among the trees. I tried to notice each distinct bird. The tits are easy to identify. So are the mourning doves, and the blackbirds of course. But others are strangers. Something is making a ratcheting kind of ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch. I wonder: do swans make any sounds other than hissing?

I’ve never seen oystercatchers along the lake. They stay over in the ponds at the park near the skateboarding ramps. I have no idea why. And I only hear the lapwings there in the evenings when I can’t see them.

E. and I have been talking about moving again. And there is a part of my longing to move into the woods somewhere. I think the desire began in my childhood, with fairy tales and forests, with candied houses and witches that could be shoved into ovens and be done with. Snow white could talk to the animals. Wild birds would land on her finger and she would sing.

Disney filled a Las Vegas kid’s head with entirely unreasonable hopes.

I found a place, actually. Not a candied house, but a house near a lake, surrounded by trees. But far from public transportation. I would need to buy a car. I would need to drive a car daily. So, I guess we’re not moving yet. Sometimes I forget that this location, this house was a compromise and that I am happy here.

For now – for the next 15 years until I can retire – I will catch what I can of birdsong and be grateful for it. When I give Leonard his morning treat and, instead of running off to fold himself in under the coffee table, he leans his head against my thigh and stares up at me, I’ll pretend he’s singing.

green hearts between trees
white bells above the green hearts
call to the cuckoo –
sour apple flowing from
thin stems to quench her thirst

4 Replies to “Coming Back to Gratitude”

    1. (replied on my phone on the wrong blog – I forget the blue connection to urine is only common knowledge among Norwegians) –

      I am the same -read it in high school and was so lost. I didn’t even connect the skinless people to white people – sooooo culturally narrow. I wonder if I shouldn’t read it again now even older than the last time.

      That’s what I love about literature.


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