Readings in Gratitude

Sometimes I have to work on gratitude. I'm on my third or fourth attempt at keeping a gratitude journal, meant to deepen the habit of focusing intentionally on the richness and goodness of this life, calming down the reactionary whines and wants that suck the presence and wonder right out of the miracles of daily life.

Other times, gratitude rides in on its own power, and becomes, for a time, everything I can perceive. The crashing, outsize storms of this summer—and being safe within them—offer gratitude feasts. Each time rain comes, it brings relief that, so far, we are not returning to last summer's relentless heat and longing for rain, or the droughts of 2010, 1980, or back into my father's memories, the terrible droughts of 1930 and 1936.

Food, music, art, clouds, a loved one, the moon, birds, stars, beauty of almost any kind can call up gratitude without my participation. This week, reading William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses brought it on.  And this morning, seeing Chattanoogan Beth Kirby's photos and reading her words about both the enticements of homemade honeysuckle cordial and the effort to live well with health challenges iced my gratitude cake. Just the post title may do it for you: "honeysuckle cordial: honeysuckle biscuits with sea salt peach butter + honeysuckle mint vinaigrette." Or perhaps we'll have another fine rain today.