Tag Archive | gratitude practice

Pink Flowers

I’m grateful that everyone in my household woke up alive this morning, and we got to enjoy coffee in the garden before getting to work. Topaz doesn’t often consent to a lap, so it was special to have her relax on mine for awhile as I sat among the raised beds where I planted onions and some leeks last night.

After coffee we walked the Breakfast Loop, feeling gratitude for abundant May wildflowers, and especially the wild pink phlox. It’s a good year for the wildflowers, even though it’s also a good year for the weeds.

The little yellow flowers are weeds, but the pink ones are natives, astragalus in the foreground and phlox in the middle.

And I’m making sure to spend some time each day with the crabapple tree, bursting with gorgeous pink flowers attended by bees. I’m grateful for pink flowers.

Right Tool for the Job

Tomato last resort: I’ve surrendered to the late planting and cold spring. Time for extra effort. I saw this mini greenhouse hack on Instagram last night and knew it was the last chance for my seedlings. I’m grateful to have the right tools (almost) for the job: I haven’t been without a cordless drill in my adult life, I just lack the right bit for plastic but used a wood bit and barely cracked the box drilling vents. I’m grateful I had a spare craft storage box. This setup should bring them up to speed. We’ll know more later!

One thing I learned this week is that the seed-starting mix I used is crap. So though I was hoping to plant them directly, I also potted up the peppers this afternoon into a rich compost.

Serendipitous Discoveries

I completely accidentally discovered something new on my iPhone Photos app. Lots of other people knew this, I’m sure, but I stumbled upon the ability to isolate a subject from the background. It took about fifteen minutes to pin it down after I accidentally pushed on an image and saw Wren get outlined in light… I’m grateful for these serendipitous discoveries!


Lilacs and forsythia in full bloom at the same time… a silver lining to the long cold spring. A few bees partake of their flowers now. May that number increase. Like many others, I hold lilacs especially dear among flowering shrubs. I’m grateful for their fleeting season.

A Provocative Guest

I’m grateful for a thought-provoking guest. A college friend stopped by on a cross-country drive, and I was grateful to be able to walk to the canyon with him, cook him a real dinner, and serve him cake and coffee in the morning back at the canyon before he resumed his travels. He is a kind, considerate, honest, caring man. We talked nonstop while he was here, reminiscing about our college years, asking each other about our present lives and the years between, covering deep topics of life and death and God and Buddha.

He asked me how I came to Buddhism, and I asked him how he came to be a born-again Baptist. Our world-views are quite different, and I was so grateful for the mindfulness practice that allowed me to keep an open heart and open mind as we talked, enabling me to listen deeply to his experience and beliefs without judgment, and deepen our connection. Our conversation has caused me to revisit some questions I’ve been coasting with for awhile: What exactly do I believe, and why do I believe it? He was an easy, open person long ago, comfortable to be around, and he remains so today. There were moments during our visit of teary tenderness, and moments of light laughter.

The serviceberry is in flagrant bloom along the canyon.

He recalled some things about our college years that I had forgotten, and vice versa. One memory he resurrected for me was how we used to tap on the wall between our rooms in freshman dorm to communicate. Sometimes it meant ‘meet outside,’ sometimes it summoned us to the windows where we made plans from our third story rooms. He was recently diagnosed with MS, and we talked a lot about the trajectory of his symptoms, and some strange symptoms I’ve been experiencing. He still works as a nurse, and encouraged me to see a neurologist. That’s been on my list anyway.

This spring has brought more opportunity than ever to surrender: to the lush green carpet of weeds through the yard and woods, to the bad grass I battled for years, to the prolific catmint I’ve tried to control; and to the process of my own physical aging and mortality. I’m grateful for equanimity and the relief of surrender.

I’m grateful for the Dr. JB hummingbird feeder that my sister Chris gave me a few years ago. It’s so easy to fill and clean, and it seems to be their favorite . I texted her this picture to tell her so, and she reminded me to get rid of any feeders with metal holes: they can lacerate the birds’ beaks and lead to infection and death. I had not known that, and promptly removed my one metal feeder and threw it away, ordering another Dr. JB to replace it.

The Panacea

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at bagels for awhile, and finally made time today after class. These silicone bagel molds made shaping them easy, but the recipe that came with them just made round bread. Still, I’ve had lox, cream cheese, capers, and red onions in the fridge for over a week, to make a nostalgic ‘comfort lunch’ from childhood, so I made do, with gratitude for all parts of the meal. I’m grateful that I have a different and I suspect much more authentic bagel recipe lined up to try next time.

I’m even more grateful for the meaningful conversations I got to engage in today with graduates and students about life, death, moods, thoughts, and the panacea of gratitude.


The days are more warm than cool, it hasn’t frozen at night for a few weeks, tomato seedlings are finally sprouting in their progressive incubators: Gardening feels real at last, and I’m grateful for that. It’s such a relief to see the growth of planted seeds after the extraordinarily long winter.

I’ve thinned the sprouts in half the cups to just one, and am bringing them out every day since it’s warm enough, and since I was weeks late planting the seeds, hoping they’ll grow fast enough to go in the ground in just a couple more weeks. We’ll know more later!

Meanwhile, those peas I took a chance on planting before a late snow are shooting up to the trellis with vigor. And the peach tree is full of delicate pink blossoms and perching hummingbirds. What a glorious view!


I was grateful this morning for walking through the woods to the canyon rim. All the May flowers are in bloom, like this little astragalus, above, and Indian paintbrush below. If I can look past the veritable carpet of weeds and focus on the native wildflowers, it’s a lovely walk. Accepting things just as they are, it’s a lovely walk.

I’m grateful to still be able to walk after the canvas stool I was sitting on split beneath me and dropped me hard onto the gravel walk. Wren came running to make sure I was ok, and thankfully I was. I paused a few minutes to stretch my legs and return to equilibrium before I stood and finished planting some annuals in that one patio pot, and then I took it as a sign and went inside for lunch.

I’m grateful for asparagus, abundant now in the markets and the ditches. I cooked some fettuccini, and made a quick lemony sauce in the pan with sautéed asparagus, onions and garlic. A toss of paprika, some parmesan, and a dash of black salt rounded out a fulfilling comfort meal.


I’m grateful I got to spend a lot of time outside today, sitting quietly in the yarden, mowing grass and weeds, reading, watering, attending to the little vegetables, walking the little animals through the woods and admiring the little wildflowers. As I was pondering what specific gratitude to express about today, though, I took a long drink of cold tap water.

Everybody chokes on their own saliva once in a while, or has a sip of something go down the wrong pipe, but I’ve been aspirating a lot lately, as often as once a day sometimes, and that’s got me a little concerned. As I poured the water into my mouth tonight and swallowed gulp after gulp, I thought about my mother, and other people with multi-system atrophy diseases, and how one of the systems that goes is swallowing. They have to drink thickened liquids after awhile which is pretty awful–I tried my mother’s thickened water once. And so as that clear thin water went down my throat cleanly I felt keenly aware of my gratitude for swallowing a glassful effortlessly.

A delight to see snow still on the mountains this late in May