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.
sun descends so early, day
seems over too soon.
I kept sitting down to write this morning with a certain topic in mind. However, my little house is dark and I did not have enough light to write by. Both the old lamps I use had finally eaten all the light bulbs they could and I had to admit they were dead. This meant moving another lamp into that space.
With Thanksgiving coming this week, I had been doing some cleaning. I learned last month I would be cooking and hosting for the first time in 30 years. Had to clean a bit to make certain spaces presentable and it’s sort of a who moved my cheese situation, except that I’m doing it to myself. Needs to be done. The rest just is what it is. Perfect opportunity to install the new lamp with remote control so I don’t have to fumble for the switch.
And now as you can see
the lamp is well installed, at least well enough to write and read by. I cleverly have not removed the old useless lamps yet until I figure out what to do with them, so it looks pretty dorky with three lamps in a row, especially when two of them don’t even work. They are classic old 60s and 70s kitsch; I’m sure some theater department somewhere needs them for their prop department. The hubster kind of grumped around waiting for me ask for help. After 40 years together he still hasn’t figured out I only ask for help when I really need it, because then I really need it.
And as I get the lamp in place and test the remote I hear the train whistle blow down at the tracks on the other side of town. My little house is in a community as far west in the Portland, Oregon Metro area as you can go. We are still rural, surrounded by farms and fields of food. Trains still move materials to market and my house is within earshot of the tracks. When I lie down to sleep at night I hear the train whistle blow low and slow and softly repeating itself as it goes on its eastward or westward journey. The sound brings a flood of memories.
Mom’s 84th birthday was Friday, November 22. For me it was her first birthday without her here on this planet with me. I didn’t send her a card, or visit her at her house, or call her up and sing an enthusiastic but tuneless “Happy Birthday” song, followed by a silly giggle.
Her little house was closer to the railroad than mine and I remember during my childhood falling asleep at night listening to the train whistle. She always said the whistle reminded her of home, and indeed, when we’d go back to Idaho to visit her parents, you could hear the train from their little house as well. This was not the house she grew up in, but as we often toured the homesteads she’d grown up on I began to take note of how close the railroad tracks were at each site. Every farm home she’d lived in was within reach of the sound of that lonesome whistle.
I’d lie there at Grandma’s or at Mom’s and wonder why Hank Williams had called the whistle sound lonesome. He might have chosen wistful, or hopeful, or sad. He chose the word lonesome, as every writer does, for a reason. There’s so much in that word lonesome. It’s about desire, and loss, and missing people you can’t be with right now. It’s about leaving things behind and moving forward, about not knowing the future, and accepting the past is what it is. It’s about knowing when you move forward, when you go back it is never the same.
I prepare for my first Thanksgiving without Mom. Some years her birthday was Thanksgiving. One year she admitted to me there were many years we were so busy with our families none of us even called to say happy birthday. Broke my heart. So, Happy Birthday, Mom. Thanksgiving will never be the same without you. We will forge on and create new traditions. We’ll throw out old things that don’t work any more and take advantage of the other things we have. And be missing you as we do so.
I’m cooking this year. Some friends and family will stop by to eat. We are not a formal household, and I’m not the hostess with the mostest. I’m sort of low key, but I fret all will go well. I have no idea how many people I will be feeding and I bought a small turkey. It is what is it and with all the side dishes and any luck at all everybody will get full and there will be very little in the way of leftovers.
Thursday will be a busy day full of food, and hugs, and talk, and laughter, and light. Light enough to write and read by, light enough to cook and eat by. Light enough to be just a little lonesome for the people who can’t be with us by. Light enough to share stories and be thankful by.
Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – so many bright shades of green in between the grays and blacks and naked browns;
lively ivies taking over a plum tree;
vining weeds on vivid soft mosses.
Currently Reading – God is Disappointed in You (irreverant humor) by Mark Russell; The Good Death: The New American Search to Reshape the End of Life (sociology) by Marilyn Webb; The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives (sociology and politics) by Sasha Abramsky; The Little Town on the Prarie (“fictionalized” autobiography) by Laura Ingalls Wilder (I never read this series as a kid and I want to finish it); Hanging Out the Wash: And Other Ways to Find More in Less (simplifying life) by Adair Lara. Yes, concurrently.
Winter Classic Reading rules:
1. You must never have read the book before.
2. The book must be recognized as a classic, and can be contemporary.
* 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.
Winter Classic Reading choices as of today:
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 Hawthorne; I’ve read House of the Seven Gables.
So Big by Edna Ferber; I’ve never read this author.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray; I’ve never read this author.
Something by Anthony Trollope, suggested by the co-worker; neither of us have read this author.
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:
- Getting a few more corners cleaned.
- Seeing more organizational ideas for my working/living space.
- Cold, clear fresh air.
- Shopping on-line. I don’t like driving much anymore; it’s crazy out there! And I’ll probably sound like Judge Judy here and not grateful but folks seem to be rather stupid, rude, or thoughtless. Not at all like I was taught to behave. It’s scary to go out in it. On-line shopping lets UPS take all the risk.
- My paternal grandmother’s Christmas cactus bloomed, so it must be Thanksgiving.
- Learning how to grow older.
- Food at the ease of a grocery store or farmers market and not at the end of my shovel and watering can and butcher knife.
- Letting go of miscommunications around how many are coming for dinner and just opening the door to whatever may be.
- The crazy abundance that is my little house.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.