This Christmas season, I'm suddenly aware of the sumptuous luxury that surrounds me. I go through my days, month after month, not really taking note of the random comforts in my world, but I notice now. And once I begin to notice, I can't stop noticing.
I'm grateful for Husband, who works energetically, tirelessly and mostly cheerfully, to improve our home and make it more efficient and warmer in the cold season and fruitful in the warm season.
I'm thankful for my two fuzzy girls, Molly and Peep. Best of friends to each other and to us, each day they reveal another Incredibly Cute Pose or a new facet of personality. When I think of what might have happened to Peep, had a sheriff's deputy not found her sitting quietly by the side of the road . . . or how lucky we are to have been granted the gift of Molly, who was living a thousand miles away, waiting for someone to want her . . . they both seem like meant-to-be miracles.
I live where, on my way home at night, I don't have to battle traffic, or wait for traffic lights to change. Sometimes I need to decrease my already slow speed to let a couple of deer get all the way across the road so I can pass. That isn't a hardship. It's a pleasure. They're pretty and fit and healthy and graceful . . . like smooth sculpture moving from woody roadside to woody roadside.
I live on land that we almost had to sell in financial desperation, but we made it through.
I live in a house that we weren't sure we would ever be able to build, but we did.
I look through windows taller than I am, at fields as large as the beloved fields of my lost childhood home. The trees that wave their tips in the way-up-there-wind are as tall and as forever as the trees I watched at age seven from my bedroom window or from a seat on a stone wall built by my ancestors' hands in seventeen-hundred-something. My skies are wide and changeable, glowing blue and white or orange and that magic pink-gold of sunset . . . and even now, when day after day, the sky is one smooth blanket of pale pale gray-white cotton, it is more beautiful to me than any skyline filled with buildings and rooflines.
I have a job where everyone is friendly with everyone else. That wasn't the case until only a few months ago: more evidence that my world is moving in a good direction. Our group now jokes and laughs together, works together to solve problems that often aren't even really problems but only quirks. The new philosophy is that if whatever seems to be awry is not fixed within the next two hours, no one will die. Truly, a change for the better for all of us. Thank God.
I have a vehicle that gets me where I want to go, the means to buy things that I need and want. I have enough leisure to knit, to nap, to read. I have warmth and light and comfortable and suitable clothing.
How blessed am I with all this.
Even if I wish for sun in my eyes in the mornings, and even if it feels like bedtime every day when I get home from work in the deep dusk of December . . . I am blessed.
And I am grateful.
I think that I might be growing more and more pagan as I age, but still, the Christmas season is a good time to count our gifts. These are some of mine.
And I am grateful.
Mud and Pine (Lakes, that is)
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