Wednesday, November 21, 2012


I've been keeping a little running list of what I'm grateful for. A lot, as it turns out:

Idaho, because it is a part of my family's history. For the bears, moose, trout, tanagers, pronghorn I have seen there, on and off, my whole life. My whole life.

Scotland, because people I love live there. And because now, it is the country I have visited the most, and therefore I have history there too. Because my granddaughters speak with its inflections and vocabularies, and so will my grandson. Because of its northerliness and its mists and rain, because of the taste of its brilliant and brief summer. Because of its rivers and because of its villages. Because of the sea.

Walking, because it lets me let go. Because of how good it feels just to move.

My neighborhood, which is not remarkable in the least, but which I love because I can follow its seasons and evolutions by walking through it. For that fantastic apricot rose bush, for the brilliance of the yellow berries in November when all the leaves have fallen from the ornamental tree. Because of its specific sequence of dogs.

Music, for all the ways it sweetens things. For music itself. For instruments and players. For singing. For listening.

Ornamental trees, which flower and fruit not to be useful but to be beautiful. Roses, one of the most elegant of flowers. Because the flowers are borne up by thorns. Because of the elegance of the thorn.

My job, which, when all is said and done, means so much to me, and which allows me to do my part. Because it has taught me so much. Because it has given me one more means to make use of my gifts and efforts. Because it has brought me friends and colleagues. Because it is worth doing.

Afar, which is how I see some of the things I love the most. My beloved, walking across campus. The furthest branches on the tallest trees. The waterfall across the river. The pronghorn leaping among a herd of cattle.

Birds, dinosaurs of the air. For the way they never fail to lift my heart when they fly. 

Wind which tosses the leaves and is the moving air. Which makes a wild music.

Rivers and bridges both, the moving water and the place to stand as the water moves under my feet.

The road, which leads everywhere. For the maps that show them, both ancient and modern. For the directions. For the journey.
Ruins, evoking the past and still standing there, solid, uncovered, still emerging and implacably themselves.
Stories, the ones we carry and the ones we invent, which are the same stories.

Photos, little distillations of atoms and light. In albums, printed and encased, or digital, shimmering from the screen. Which form sequences. Which must be rewoven into a context. Which contain the faces of the beloveds.

Cameras which capture everything and nothing. For the urge to capture. For the instruments, which are a kind of sight, and a kind of longing.

Movies, little distillations of atoms and light and motion.

Berries both edible and not. Which are the carriers of seed. Which are the culmination of flower.

Los Angeles, which is the holographic, mysterious, blatant and veiled One Place. Which is emblem of my desire to know, to reach an understanding, an agreement with my own past.

Poetry and syntax and paragraphs, ways of organizing language. For the urge to organize language, to convey, to propose, to make beauty.

Parties. Made of family or friends or both, with music and food, laughter, flowers. For all the reasons, flimsy and durable, we muster for this purpose.

For travel. Denver, Boston, Philadelphia, NoCal, Portland, Aberdeen. For the people I saw there, for what we did together, for what I learned. 

For the renewable pleasures--for dinner out and dinner at home, pancakes, the flowers that return every spring and summer. For movie night. For visits with my children and grandchildren. For television. For favorite songs.

For friends, old and new. For my oldest friends, who remember things about me that I've forgotten. For the specific pieces of their histories that I share with them. For the tea, sandwiches, scones, pho, omelets, pancakes, toast, salad, pizza, curry, cake over which we've shared confidences, laughter, outrages, gossip, movie reviews, and poems.

For my children, who transformed my life. For their energy, verve, beauty, sweetness, tartness. For the fight and the wit in them. For the kindness and the joy. For my grandchildren, who transformed my life again. For their specificity. For their enthusiasms and obsessions. For superheroes and Legos, transformers, Polly Pockets, art projects. For their jokes and fits, for the ways I can see their parents in them. 

For my parents, for my siblings and siblings-in-law. For my nieces and nephews and cousins, my aunts and uncles. My grandparents before all of us. For my identity, which emerged from this storm of love and origin. For the history connecting us. Because they are absolute and essential.

For my husband the historian, whose patience and presence in my life sometimes leaves me, literally, without words adequate to describe. For him. For the blessing of him.

happy thanksgiving to you, the people. I count you as my friends. tomorrow when I eat pie, I will be thinking of you.


  1. Love. Miss you all.

  2. Cheers, Eff. Thanks for the friendship and the amazing daily posts. May you experience Pie Nirvana, this day.

  3. I am grateful for you, Hightouch and for your year of blogging! Now, is it acceptable to copy and paste this whole post into my blog?

  4. I am thankful for you, HT, and for your blog which helps keep me connected to home whilst I wander. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Well, now. You made me cry



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