I’m grateful every single night when I go upstairs to bed and see that the new neighbors across the canyon haven’t installed a giant ‘security’ light on their house. I leave the drapes open to the darkness of night: a spotlight shining in on my bed would infringe on my freedom! Not to mention the wasted energy and disruption to wildlife. I’m grateful for the nearly primal darkness of night where I live.
I’m grateful for the Apricot Tree, and for neighbor Fred who has been pruning it every spring for as long as I can remember. I’m grateful for the tender attention he gives this tree, bringing his ladders, loppers, and pruners, and shaping the tree beautifully with his expertise. It took several years after I planted it for the tree to fruit, and for the next few years while I was in charge the most it ever grew was half a dozen apricots. Once Fred took over, fruits increased year after year, finally yielding more than forty pounds each of the past couple of years. After last fall’s sudden killing freeze, I’m grateful that the tree is even alive. We don’t know yet whether any fruit buds survived, and expect only a light crop if any. He checked out and lightly pruned the peach and crabapple trees, too, and they’re both okay. This will surely be a low fruit year in the valley, but the trees are resilient, and we can hope for more good years in the future, if the extremes of climate chaos don’t kill them first. We’ll know more later.
I’m grateful for oncoming spring in the garden, and for precipitation that keeps nourishing the tiny bulbs pushing their flowers up here and there. I’m grateful to see the first leaves emerging from the forest floor, though most of the green shoots are weeds; I’m not sure what this little red cluster will become. I’m grateful for another day walking with Stellar among ancient junipers sculpted by centuries of seasons and stressors. I’m grateful for another day sculpting myself by choosing where I place my attention.
I’m grateful for another chance to try my hand at orange sticky buns, which turned out just as well the second time. The dough seemed really wet and was hard to maneuver, and there was a little too much filling (as if!) ~ but they baked beautifully. Anyone who might happen to come to prune my fruit trees in the next couple of days, or to deliver groceries ~ and I’m grateful for anyone who might! ~ will surely go home with some sticky buns. I’m grateful every day for where I live, for so many reasons. I’m grateful for good neighbors of all species.
After learning great news about the state of renewable energy in Colorado last week, the Senate confirmation of Deb Haaland as Interior Secretary today was icing on the cake. I’m grateful that a Native American woman with a profoundly sensible land ethic has been put in charge of the public lands of this great nation. After years of vicious assaults on wilderness, National Parks and Monuments, and climate science, the US government is now poised to begin a brave new era of protection and conservation of the precious heritage of natural resources in this country: Haaland is a true conservative, an advocate for our most fundamental truth, the earth itself.
This news adds to the growing sense of peace and ease within me that began with the inauguration of a wiser, more compassionate president; bumped up last week when I was reassured by one-who-knows that renewable energy is an unstoppable economic success; and escalated with the relief of receiving my first Covid vaccine Friday. Speaking of which, Ranchergramma shared this picture on her blog the other day, along with her joy and gratitude about the role her family played in the Hotchkiss vaccination pod. I’m grateful to the Gallob clan for their integral role in the success of this event, as well as their overall multi-generational pillars-of-the-community contributions to life in our valley.
Of all the many things I feel grateful for today, including a wonderful night’s sleep in my bed on clean cotton sheets, and coffee in the morning, and a meaningful day’s work, and not getting food poisoning from questionable canned tuna fish, and teaching my first mindfulness practicum class to two delightful volunteers… by far the highlight (sorry, ladies), was the thrilling adventure that Stellar had on our last walk of the day. I give you, Driveway: the Trailer.
I mean. He was playing! For the first time in a year! or More! Just to see him frolic, feeble though he is, brought laughter and joy to my heart. Yes, there was a little concern that he’d twist on a foot stuck in the mud or snow and fall to the ground, but really, there was nothing to do but enjoy his joyful encounter with the puppy next door, whom we met for the first time walking up … the Driveway!
I’m grateful, as an omnivore, that there are neighbors who raise beef, and that I’m able to contribute to their well-being and my own by purchasing their grass-fed, homegrown meat. I wish I could be a vegetarian, sometimes, because it’s better for the planet. But I need meat, and I like it cooked just so, with a little salt. Tonight I’m grateful for the last filet of some grass-fed, grass-finished beef I bought from Wrich Ranch just down the road. And yesterday, I was grateful for ground-beef of the same caliber from right next door, which I buy for Stellar’s homemade dog food, and grateful for the neighbor who delivered it in the snow and packed down the driveway. I don’t eat meat often, but when I do it’s only locally and humanely raised, purchased from people I trust.
The problem with red meat isn’t red meat, it’s our culture’s insatiable appetite for it. We all know that our bodies are healthier with occasional beef than with daily doses, and that factory farming is unsustainable for the planet. Eat less meat less often, savor it more, and grow your own or support local farmers and ranchers whenever possible. I’m grateful it’s so easy and so reasonable in this valley to satisfy my meager, and my dog’s eager, appetites for meat.
I’m grateful we are not experiencing here the catastrophic cold front that has much of the country in its grip, and is devastating cities like Houston. This freak weather pattern, which will become more common, and this freak pandemic, which won’t be gone soon, are both linked to the problem of our gluttony, and not just for meat. We quit calling it global warming years ago when climate change was deemed more accurate, and now it’s time to officially label it climate chaos. We are all connected, all humans, all species, every inhabitant of this earth depends upon the rest. It is my fervent wish that everyone wake up to this simple truth, and start to cultivate more gratitude for what we have and less grasping for what we want. Only through a change in human consciousness will the world be transformed, and thereby saved.