Tuesday, November 26, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Autumn Leaves. 2013. Photo by Al Griffin

I’m grateful for laughter, especially the laughs provided by these comedians: Jimmy Fallon, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Kevin Hart, W. Kamau Bell, Key and Peele, and Louis C. K. I can count on at least one chortle, giggle, guffaw, or smile while watching any one of them.

I’m grateful for those among us who live like Atticus. They stand for something and someone; they dare to make a difference for us all. They are men and women like Leymah Gbowee, Pope Francis, Senator Bernie Sanders, Moral Monday protestors, Jill Stein, Margaret Flowers, Representative John Lewis, Mariana Chilton , and so many, many more.

I’m grateful for those who do the work that few of us can. They are firefighters, public defenders, social workers, teachers, counselors, airmen, soldiers, sailors, Marines, and guardsmen along the coasts and inland. Most agree to put their lives in jeopardy for us. Most work for subsistence salaries, their own families often benefiting from public programs.

I’m grateful for writers long gone and brand new, for high speech and low, for ideas that carry me far beyond my own horizon. W. H. Auden, Matthew Arnold, William Wordsworth, and William Carlos Williams bid me pay attention; their words return to me often. John Updike’s A Great Scarf of Birds perfectly describes a delight I witness daily.

Little Scout Finch whispers great lessons of love and courage. Delores Claiborne soldiers on, her vision bleak, her expectations lower than low. Carol Shields, Joy Kogawa, and Kevin Powers reveal the human condition in language poetic and poignant. 

I’m grateful for glorious sunrises, awe-inspiring sunsets, cleansing rains; for soft breezes whispering through pine needles, supporting eagles on high, cooling my brow in summer.

I’m grateful for the pelicans, gulls, coots, and ducks, each bobbing upon the waves, waiting for fish below. Their water ballet entertains me daily.

Heron, Lake of the Ozarks, 2013. Photo by Al Griffin

I’m grateful for neighbors who watch over me and my property, for fellowship, and for gracious unbidden smiles. Several are avid fishermen, most follow one sport or all of them enthusiastically, and a few attend church regularly while many worship in Emily Dickinson’s cathedral--the great outdoors. Most of them are elderly in the eyes of the world, but all are vital with cares, woes, joys, and interests.

I’m grateful for a devoted husband who remains curious and keen. He and I have sculpted each other into creatures more beautiful.

More than anything else, I’m grateful for a grandchild. Through her eyes, I see the world’s gems anew.