Gratitude

It’s Saturday. I rose at 5, and looked for the moon, but she was tucked in fog.  

I sat on the couch with Tiger and Bella, a blanket over my lap, and closing my eyes felt them moist and expanding, cells like wands.

I fell asleep to wake from a vivid dream.  A window was open and that made sense since in the dream it was the room where my brother passed away.  I picked up wet sheets and pillowcases, and rocks fell out, and feeling what we leave behind, I burst into tears, and sobbed and sobbed. I thought I can’t stop no matter what, and then I woke up disoriented, wondering if the dream was telling me I haven’t cried enough tears, haven’t mourned enough.  

I sit here now, the fog quiet and still. Early this morning, wind chimes sounded like church bells. I felt how when someone I love dies, this world seems like a matte painting, as though I’m missing something, which of course I am, but somehow today, there is fluidity and fullness in the layers, waves in the embodiment I seem to think I am.

A bison who lived in the bison paddock in Golden Gate Park died yesterday.  8-year old Brunhida had kidney disease.

I am with loss and change as I sink in and out of this beautiful poem by W.S. Merwin on gratitude and honoring thanks.

Thanks BY W.S. Merwin

Listen

with the night falling we are saying thank you

we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings

we are running out of the glass rooms

with our mouths full of food to look at the sky

and say thank you

we are standing by the water thanking it

standing by the windows looking out

in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging

after funerals we are saying thank you

after the news of the dead

whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you

in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators

remembering wars and the police at the door

and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you

in the banks we are saying thank you

in the faces of the officials and the rich

and of all who will never change

we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us

taking our feelings we are saying thank you

with the forests falling faster than the minutes

of our lives we are saying thank you

with the words going out like cells of a brain

with the cities growing over us

we are saying thank you faster and faster

with nobody listening we are saying thank you

thank you we are saying and waving

dark though it is

Gratitude scents and colors the air outside The Legion of Honor

Day 54: Gratitude

On the fifty-fourth day of my brother’s passing, I look out on a morning, still, quiet.  Overhead, in the distance a jet streams by in the blue. I picture people traveling from Asia getting ready to land.  Sometimes I find it hard to hold in my head all the lifestyles on this planet, all those who travel and those who stay still.  

A friend just spent five weeks on the island of Sardinia.  She said the people there consider themselves a family, and families spend their days together.  It’s hard to imagine where I live when there’s so much distance between families and ages. There, she said, you see children helping grandparents up and down steps.  It’s not a duty; it is.

Families gather quietly together during the day, eat dinner around eight, and are all together in the market squares until eleven.  How is it to live like that?

I don’t know but I do know we are on this earth as a family.  How do we then more clearly honor and cultivate all the stages of life?  As we explore the possibilities, perhaps we better understand what appears to be separation, as exchange, as we bind and unbind the passages and transformations that clasp and unclasp life and death.

I look at a rose, the grip of petals before they let go, feel the beat harvest gratitude in my chest.  

A rose in my garden