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It's Nelly's World

Gratitudes IV

alec vanderboom

It's time once again to feel grateful. This is something that sometimes occurs to me spontaneously: an almost electrical sensation, energetic and soothing at once, and I ask myself, What was that? Just as quickly the answer, almost bemused, occurs: Why, that's happiness you're feeling!

More often, though, the totting-up must be conscious.

Talking to my mother on the phone recently, I heard myself exclaim, "Do you realize how damn lucky I am, Mother? My life is so incredibly good, with work that I love, more than enough food to eat, a child I am so proud of I could burst, and a dog whose sweet face I want to kiss. Plus, I live in a place that is so beautiful--that they haven't managed to totally wreck yet, if at all--that sometimes it makes me breathless and I stop the car and stare. How lucky can one person be?" She was quiet for a minute. "My, you have learned a lot recently."

This exercise, while of great psychic value to all, also makes for the perfect post before vacation, when your mind is taken up with packing lists and traffic fears so that it couldn't really come up with anything else cogent; sort of E*Z Blog (TM). And it may have to hold till the car is unpacked, too, sometime next week.

I am so happy . . .

* That I didn't have to be the copyeditor on The Chicago Manual of Style.

Thelonious Monk's middle name was "Sphere"

* The woods right now are filled with baby spotted salamanders

* For the smell of deep-fried food in the air on a particularly hot August day

* That a friend brought and left at my house this especially tasty Grenache Shiraz

* That someone has considerately thought to station blackberry canes along the trail's edge, so that you may refresh yourself during the more arduous parts of your hike

* For peanut butter and jelly (but not just any PBJ: wild blueberry jam--oh, all right, ginger marmalade works too; soft multigrain bread, sorta like Wonder Bread you can feel good about; and chunky natural): the food of the gods

* That at the time we chanced to stop, the soft custard flavor of the day at the Jolly Cow was banana

* That I have a dog who still, and very cutely, chases butterflies. A goddamn living postcard. And a dog who has not gone AWOL on a hike in a very long time (though the collection of small burrs in a long coat has been record-setting of late, perhaps in offset)

* That I have finally learned my lesson: You don't buy your tin foil at the dollar store. (Nor do you get your matches there, either. Just a word to the wise)

* That I can still afford to drive to Mohonk for a hike, and revel in the Million Dollar View, an ohboy sight if there ever was one--but which a European tourist might now pick up for the equivalent of about ten grand

* For the joy on a young boy's face on going to the fair: $75, but priceless, as they say