To Say Nothing But Thank You
All day I try to say nothing but thank you,
breathe the syllables in and out with every step I
take through the rooms of my house and outside into
a profusion of shaggy-headed dandelions in the garden
where the tulips’ black stamens shake in their crimson cups.
I am saying thank you, yes, to this burgeoning spring
and to the cold wind of its changes. Gratitude comes easy
after a hot shower, when my loosened muscles work,
when eyes and mind begin to clear and even unruly
hair combs into place.
Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute,
and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I
remember who I am, a woman learning to praise
something as small as dandelion petals floating on the
steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup,
my happy, savoring tongue.
All day I try to shake the rain, the blues. Thankfulness takes root in the small spaces and I look for where gratitude can lift and carry me out of myself.
After all these years I still find solace in gentle things: soup, books, soft sweaters, talking and not talking. Some days I do not talk at all. And when I resurface words mean more.
What to do when you're blue? Talk to Betty, Edith or Opal. In other words, visit a nursing home.
Today I met Opal. She's 90. Her voice is soft and thin, her smile gentle, and when she tells me how her family moved across the country in a Model A Ford, I am right there with her, bumping along rough winter roads with gas cans and a washtub strapped to the roof.
She tells me more stories, most of which seem dubious, but I don't mind. We all have unsteady moments, in our bodies and our minds. I appreciate the murky places.
"Opal," I say, "you're a good egg."
"Well, we have to be," she says. "We must be kind."
What to do when the sky is gray and the gloom is large? Be kind. Talk softly. Make soup.
It's Thankful Thursday, a weekly pause to express appreciation for people, places and things. What are you thankful for today?