12 Things I Am Grateful For This Year
Day 8: Shelter
Wherever you go, may you find shelter
in every form you desire: cabin, friendship, paper
with words that tell a story,
or a golden tree that jingles in the breeze
and sends down a currency that sustains and delights.
An American Beech Tree in Autumn
One story of the word “book” starts with the beech tree, on which ancient runes were carved.
Old English bōc was rooted in German. Branches spread. Paper made. Books written.
And the beech continues to give.
Sometimes it seems that almost everything is gone.
Loss comes, and drains the blue sky and lush greens from our world. We focus on what is gone. Our vision is darkened as if by a veil. We struggle to get back to what we once knew, what was once ours.
But what is gone is no longer real. What is real is what is left.
Yes, loss itself is real, and for serious loss, grieving is a necessary process. But at some point, the fact is that the leaves have curled up and blown away. Our landscape has new space, a space that allows us to see more clearly everything that is still there, everything that is real. Inside illness, we have bodies that still do many things with ease, like hear or see. Inside job loss, we still have our talent. Inside heartbreak, we still have hearts that love.
Through the eyes of gratitude, our world slowly comes into focus, and we start to see simplicity and beauty in our world. We appreciate the delicate branches of a beech tree echoed by the sturdy silhouette of a linden tree. We find delight in three leaves, two beechnuts, and a glass pear.
For all I have discovered in spare landscapes, I give thanks.