Over the past 100 days, I have recorded my thanks for all manner of things and events and places and people that have coloured my life and continue to do so, and made of it what it was, and what it is now. I write because I remember. I write because I think — to twist a phrase from a famous philosopher — being fully aware that as I age, memory and contemplation are faculties that my mind cannot fully rely on.
What I have left undone and unsaid so far is to give thanks that, on this day and at my age, I have my mind (passably) intact – I am mindful and mind-full at this moment. I can think thoughts and treasure ideas or mull contrasting concepts over in my head. Or contemplate the wonders of this world – as for instance, the miracle of life itself – such as that from a seed, seemingly inert, springing into growth. And marvel with curiosity and awe at the intricate systems encoded within that minuscule entity, converting sunlight and minerals and air and water into energy and the creation of flowers and food.
Such a quotidian, unremarkable act is thinking, that we — or more precisely I — rarely give it a shred of thought (pardon the pun). Usually. And yet at any moment, illness or accident can take away that simple power that I take for granted, and I am no longer the person I once was. Or thought I was.
I am grateful that I can shape my thoughts into words. Another mundane act for most, and yet I am aware of dementia and that other spectre of old age – Alzheimers – that can deprive me of such facility. Or it could be aphasia or other injury to the brain or the heart, and the vital link between my thinking and my speaking or my writing is gone forever.
I am thankful too that I can weave in my own idiosyncratic way the eclectic thoughts that fill my mind into words with some sort of supple coherence. And I am grateful, deeply grateful, that others appreciate this crafting – whatever the quality of the result – and graciously and faithfully read my posts from day to day. My friends and family have told me that this crafting is a gift from Above. I accept and belatedly acknowledge this gift with all due modesty and humility, and I shall strive to steward it well. I realise that this may come across as somewhat conceited, but not to acknowledge or fully utilise such gifts with which we have been blessed I now realise to be a sacrilege. For the Supreme Creator’s continuing grace, I feel deeply privileged.
On this brilliantly sunny centennial day of my gratitude journal, I am heartened to look out onto the trees in the back garden and observe the promise of burgeoning buds. And later I shall go outside into the garden and greet the snowdrops and find out whether they are in bloom. Yesterday was the first day I have gardened outdoors in a long while, and I am glad that I have finally planted the bulbs received as a present at the start of my illness. The bulbs have begun to sprout and I hope they forgive my unintentional neglect.
I am exceedingly grateful to be able to enjoy these natural wonders at close range – to be able to sense them fully, to recognise them, remember them, and say their names – and to have them as highlights of my daily life. May I continue to be blessed with such grace.
To be alive and well on this lovely day in early spring, to be mentally and emotionally and spiritually engaged – to be mind-full and heart-full – and heartily crafting at this very moment are truly and most definitely things to be ever and enormously thankful for.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! And I share with you the joy of the first open snowdrop of the year! If you look closely, there is a heart (upside down) right at their very centre.