Mary Beth Writes

This image this morning: The sun comes up over the top of the hill on which we live. The new-rising sun was shining on a long freight train rumbling past. All the train cars were side-lit with glowing colors - rust, manila, peaches and creams and the sky was dusky November blue behind them. The rumbling of the train in this old house was comfortable. It was a beautiful and pleasant moment.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be stirring up our emotions and words to remember the wondrous people and moments around us.  We don’t have to make a list or say it right or count our blessings.  I mean, some people like to do those things and that’s cool. But many of us love Thanksgiving but kind of balk at the “being properly thankful” thing.

So in case that’s you. Here’s a plan.

1. Five or six is the number of times you are going to take a half moment today to like the minute you are in.  The image in front of you is going to catch your attention, or you are going to put reminders in your pocket to tell you to look around. But 5 or 6 is your number.

2. What to do in the moment. Look around. Smell the turkey. Watch the baby crawl across the floor or the teenager laugh with the old uncle, or the sunshine spill in the kitchen window, or listen fully when the whole family cheers or groans at a football game play.  There will be moments.

3. You don’t have to “keep” those moments. Don’t write them down, don’t take a picture, don’t tell them to anyone. Try to keep your senses going and the wordy-gurdy in your brain turned off. Just be awake and alive and revel a little that you are alive to experience what you are experiencing.

4. Like I said, you aren’t going to hoard this moment. If you can still remember all your moments tomorrow, you did it wrong. They are just going to come into your awareness, you are going to smile and be grateful, and then you let them go.

5.  Put  5 rubber bands on your wrist, take one off every time you are awake to a moment and put the band on your other wrist, or put it on a beer can going to recycling, or wrap it around a candlestick on your mom’s mantelpiece. Or set your phone to vibrate every couple hours. Use that moment to look around for the good thing. Or put five rings or bracelets on one hand and by the end of the day they should be on the other hand. Or 5 pieces of hard candy and eat them or share them along your day.

6. Remember, don’t tell anyone what you are doing. You are just not listing what you are thankful for - you are just being thankful.

Happy Thanks Giving, Friends.

Comments

Leonard's picture

He wanted to grow mashed potatoes!
Leonard's picture

He goes all the way from one end of the freezer to the other, and finally asks the clerk, "Hey, don't these turkeys get any bigger?" Clerk says, "No, sir. They're dead."

All we have is this moment.

Thanks MB (as always), for the evocative pictures you draw with your words. I guess I'm well-trained, as I have learned to stand back and notice the lovely little nuggets that a family gathering can provide. This attitude was not modeled in my family-of-origin, and began for me as an act of rebellion. It took me years to learn, and was worth all of the quiet effort. I hope that your Thanksgiving was warm and cozy, my friend!

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Quarantine Diary #308 1/15/2021

My life is pretty fine, and I bet yours is, too. Warm place to live. Food to eat. Friends to share and laugh with - even if we have to do it via Zoom.

At the same time, who isn’t feeling anxiety and dread? Will the white supremacist insurrectionist knobs attack the inaugural? Will they screw up state capitols and infrastructure? One lone guy blew up Nashville a mere three weeks ago. What the hell is going on?

Quarantine Diary #307 Brain Names

Remember when there was no autism? Sure, there were kids in our schools who were weirdly able to remember stuff, or were hard to control, or whose emotions triggered at the oddest time. We generally ignored those kids. Those of us who were kind did, anyways. Others bullied. 

Remember the mopey kids in high school who knew too much about depressing art and angsty music and sometimes killed themselves?

Quarantine Diary #306 Hunched Over & Paying Attention

I am going to write some Quarantine Diary entries again. There’s a lot going on and sometimes it helps to hear a small voice as well as the big voices of journalists, pundits, networks, the other public media we follow.

I have had a small headache off and on for days. I worried that I might have contracted Covid, except dang it, I haven’t gone anywhere! And then, thinking about it, I realized I am hunched over my phone much more than usual. These mild on-again, off-again headaches are from eyestrain and weird posture.

Rime and Treason

These photos were taken by Len on Monday in that other time and world that existed before the Trump gorgons mobbed the Capitol. (Gorgons existed in Greek literature. Gorgons are the poisonous siblings with hair of living snakes. Those who beheld them face-to-face turned to stone. Or were killed by being beaten by a fire extinguisher.)

I have been trying to write about that but it is too hard. There is so much that is clear and is informative. You are reading it as much as I am. Blessed be the journalists, right? 

Quarantine Diary #292 New Year's Eve

Many of us feel as if we are in limbo until Biden takes office. I don’t think you need me to say a lot about how long and hard this year has been; we’ve been in this dentist’s chair together.

But...

Did you see how many days quarantine has lasted? 292 days.

So far.

This week I read a remarkable essay. On Natural Landscapes, Metaphorical Living, and Warlpiri Identity, by Barry Lopez. https://lithub.com/. Life is weird. The day after I read it, Mr. Lopez died.

Advent Light Post 12/24/2020

Judy Saunders. Photo of a Rose.

Lo, how a rose e'er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung,
Of Jesse's lineage coming,
As folks of old have sung.
It came a flower bright
Amid the cold of winter
When half-spent was the night.

...

Len and I were delivering presents to Chicago yesterday. Social distancing, with masks, but we did it and we saw our kids’ faces and there’s your Christmas, Ma’am.

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