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It's Nelly's World

Gratitudes: Part II

alec vanderboom



I'm deeply into the idea of "reframing" these days. It's one of the processes of denial, which is something I hate being in--it makes me feel as though I'm in a dinghy in a storm-lashed sea, and the rescue ship's rope is just that much too short; I can't get back to myself and the truth. It's even worse to be on the receiving end of another's denial: the world dizzies you, because suddenly it's upside down, and what was said or done was apparently not. But it's also healthy (denial is, after all, the psyche's version of mosquito repellent). It's how I can allow myself to sit at the Thanksgiving table, heart heavy with loss, and then suddenly feel it bursting with happiness, full of hope, a queen surveying her coffers. So, in the spirit of reframing, I offer my second list of things I am grateful for. And there will be more, oh boy there will be more, I hope to be given up till the moment I draw that last rattling breath.

* the night sky outside my door, which contains the Milky Way (still), and a memory of the childhood awe I felt as I stood, blissfully small, underneath the universe that pleasantly hurt my head to contemplate, and which I was absolutely sure I would grow up to visit in a rocketship

* Darwin, who explains everything

* panettone, which stays fresh for practically forever, and therefore ranks as one of those happy mysteries of the cosmos

* the fact that no turkey died for my sins [though here Nelly adds her nongratitude for this nonevent]

* my son saying, "Oh, I don't ever want to stop hugging you!" because it is what I, too, feel, and to have a mirror as beautiful as this is beyond my wildest hopes

* my delicious woodstove on a wintry night

* the New York Times, less to read (it primarily being an annoying, upper-middle-class advertising circular for upwardly mobile dreams of Midas-like food, furs, and obscenely huge real estate) than to help ignite the former item in the list

* my dreams, for their ability to permit me to re-visit a happy past, especially in the form of a white motorcycle by the name of Lario, which for these nights is back in my possession (actually running!) and under me and sounding as beautiful as she ever did

* Tony, already Mayor of Prospect Park, now having official capacity as president of FIDO: long may he reign

* The privilege of having seen, not once, but twice, the incomparable dream city of New Orleans. Every minute, every sight, every bite I ever took in this place is a memory like a perfectly cut gem in its own setting

* The chance to do the work I love; putting me in the smallest minority in the world, and intensely grateful for the luck