Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
Nature moves paintbrush
from rose to chrysanthemum,
fiery bush and tree.
We are in the home stretch. This is the last week of my 60th journey around the sun year. I celebrate 60 years on this planet on Friday, the 18th, thirteen days before Halloween. It promises to be a auspicious day as the full moon rises at 4:38 PM Pacific Daylight Time, about three hours before my 7:30 PMish birth hour.
The Full Hunter’s Moon occurs right in the middle of the local high school homecoming parade, which marches just one block away from my house. I get to have the day off so I can go out and cheer the parade to my heart’s content, and for years now I have not cared how I look cheering and yelling and encouraging their efforts with my purposely event focused, loud voice. Friday is swim night, non-negotiable, my always Friday gift, and since it is my birthday, my swim will remain a part of my 31 days of gifts to myself. I’ll count the parade as a gift even though it was merely a luck of timing. I don’t know about the timing of the moon, but I shall count it as a fortuitous gift as well.
And there with the numbers again. Math is everywhere. Math is magic. Math is science. No, magic. No, science. Math is both. Same with language.
Many people want to deny their age, their own personal math, and stop having birthdays after a certain point. I’m not very good at making parties, or entertaining, but I’m pretty good at celebrating in my own way. This year I decided to give myself a gift every day of the month of my birthday. The new tradition has some rules: money need not be spent; gifts can be creative, such as time or events rather than things; gifts cannot be chores (a clean house is a gift, but that’s another post); gifts may be purchased, and at least one of the gifts should be time with a friend. This tradition will replace one I will miss very much.
Every year on my birthday I sent my mom a birth announcement about the baby girl, this baby girl, her baby girl she brought into the world who has arrived here on this day. After all, it was a special day for her too. Her first conception, pregnancy, labor, and delivery, her first child, a daughter, her first experience mothering. Not so special for me, I just arrived; she did all the work. She experienced the loneliness and isolation of a typical 1953 hospital birth of being strapped to a gurney, left to labor by herself with no support, and given twilight sleep to be drugged while delivering a drugged baby, and being alone with a newborn while daddy went back to work and all her family was in other states. Then she did that three more times. After I became adultish and realized what parenting meant it just felt right for me to acknowledge what she had accomplished. My birthday is just as much about her as it is about me. We were both there.
Rather than purchasing the cards, I custom created the cards myself, getting bolder and more creative with them every year. I used them to thank her for having me, for raising me, for putting up with my whining, for the gift of listening, to apologize for not paying enough attention to her, to tell her I love her. She loved the cards, bragging to her friends and family about what I did and recommending they do it for their own mothers while they were still alive. She kept every one in a little box near her bed where she kept cards other people had given her, paper keepsakes of hearts missing each other.
In honor of my mother, if you still have your mother, send her a card or an acknowledgment on your birthday every year. She was there too. It will thrill her to be remembered on your special day.
And so c’est la vie, n’est-ce pas? Life changes. The seasons come around faster each year. The years blend one into the other. Loss begats gain as one ritual becomes another. Memory swells and fades as so much has been learned, new knowledge is constantly available, and so much must be remembered. As the moon waxes this week into the Full Hunter’s Moon, the October moon seems so feminine to me and I think of the Roman mythological Diana, goddess of the hunt, and the moon, and birthing. I think of the strength of women, birthing, risking themselves to the next generation, succumbing to love and nature. And though physically I wane I feel my mind strengthen with new perceptions, my spirit even more open to the ways of nature and life, even more attuned to the passing of the cycles that circle around the sun and around the moon and around again.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – well, not quite blooming, because Mother Nature and the progression of the season this year has shifted the paintbrush from seed-making flowers
to the sugar deprivation and shedding process of the deciduous leaves of trees and bushes. Autumn came precisely according to the calendar this year and the leaves feel like they are dying early in the calendar year. It suits my mood. Not that I am wishing for a long cold winter, just that the shades and shadows and permutations of gray fit my grief.
I don’t know if it is just me but the colors are so intense this year,
the lighting more clear, or the colors brighter, or a combination of the right angles.
I see a few persistent roses and day lilies; a huge bed of bright orange and yellow nasturtiums, planted with purple pansies; some hardy asters and chrysanthemums. Color also shows in gardens I can see from the street:
fat round rose hips; pumpkins and gourds; drying corn stalks and vines; and sunflower heads heavy with seeds waiting for birds. Change is upon us, however, as the chill in the night air has begun. It won’t be long before a freeze, I’m afraid, and the frost will be upon the pumpkin.
Currently Reading – Barbecued Husbands and Other Stories from the Amazon (traditional Brazilian rain forest tribal stories) by Betty Mindlin and indigenous storytellers; Around the Table: Easy Menus for Cozy Entertaining at Home (cookbook) by Ellen Wright; Aftershock: Protect Yourself and Profit in the Next Global Financial Meltdown (global economics) by David Wiedemer and Robert A Wiedemer; How to See Yourself as You Really Are (enlightenment) by the Dalai Lama; Circus and Carnival Ballyhoo: Sideshow Freaks, Jaggers, and Blade Box Queens (history) by A W Stencell; Waking Up In Heaven (auto-biography) by Crystal McVea. Yes, concurrently.
The winter classic rules:
1. You must never have read the book before.
2. The book must be recognized as a classic, and can be contemporary.
3. Extra points if you’ve never read the author before, if the author is female, or if the title or author have won a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize.
Therefore Uncle Tom’s Cabin technically doesn’t qualify for me as it would be a re-read so I will have to count it separately.
Winter Classic choices to date:
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; I’ve never read this author.
- The Stranger by Albert Camus; I’ve never read this author.
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorn; I’ve read House of the Seven Gables.
- Something by Anthony Trollope, suggested by the co-worker; neither of us have read this author.
- Something by Alice Munro whom I haven’t read and who was just awarded a Nobel In Literature.
Can you suggest any others? Do you want to read a winter classic you’ve never read before?
We’ll decide by the winter solstice. Or maybe I’ll decide, I haven’t decided yet if I want to be the decider since it’s my tradition or if I want to share.
This week I have been grateful for:
- Deciding to celebrate every day of my birthday month and not deny or negate or hide from the years of experience I’ve earned through tenacity, perseverance, and sheer survival.
- Being accused by several people of lying about my age.
- Not being able to find fake ID that says I’m 65, so I can get the senior discount to the football games at my alma mater. I’d love it if they gave an alumni discount, as well.
- Good thing I have an eye exam scheduled next month. Waxing my legs last night I couldn’t tell the difference between the leg hair and the spider veins.
- Still being able to wax my own legs and the pretty convolutions it takes my body to do so.
- Time spent chatting with a friend over supper.
- A lovely gift basket of un-sprayed, un-waxed apples and pears driven just hours fresh from the Hood River Valley. Yum!
- Indulging in the use of a little extra electricity, though the sun was out the chill is on and opening the doors for fresh air means fresh chill. So I run the heater with the doors open to clean a little dust out of the house for a little while. Luxury! A sign of true wealth.
- Abundance in my life, my wealth of things, and thoughts, and skills.
- Intellectual discourse.
- Cricket choir and frog song.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.