I’m back in the house again after a day away from it, and it feels good. The gas heater is blaring with visible flame—terrifying, but somehow romantic—and Gigi’s snoring with her head curled into the blanket. I hiked Louisiana’s highest mountain today (Driskill, just over 500 feet), with two great guy friends, and then stopped at the Bonnie and Clyde historical marker at the top of a curve on some random road (I should remember it, but I don’t). I didn’t spend today with family, but I was thankful—for time to let Gigi out of doors, even let her off the leash a little, and to walk in the woods and on leaves and pine needles instead of pavement. It was good to be cold again and wear a coat. It was good to drink coffee at five p.m. and drink sleepytime tea at ten. I have much to be thankful for.
I heard from people today—my mom called, my sis called, and I spoke with some people from Maine. I can’t lie at all: I miss the east. I miss the cold, and the trees. I miss the walks in the winter-quieted towns and the morning glow of ocean smoke over the harbors. I miss people. But maybe I’m not living enough in the now. Maybe I’m just dwelling on what it is I don’t have and where I am not instead of remembering where I am, and what I have received here.
I have Gigi, my good dog; a computer to type on; a job; enough food. I have a new (old) microwave—finally, after four months living here. I have the gas heater and a bed with two blankets and good faith that I can wake up in the morning and still have the energy and ability to run. I have the stamina to run. I have legs, feet, toes. I have a dog, too, that I can run with.
It all adds up and now I’m sounding nostalgic and maybe I’ll pull back from this whole little blog post and think to myself, that was cheesy, but: should I care? These are thoughts. I’m hoping they’re worthwhile.
Sometimes I have problems with wanting more than I need and not being satisfied with what I’ve been blessed with, hoarding what I do have and instead of giving away, seeking more. It really shouldn’t be that way. Thanksgiving should be pushing me deeper into gratitude, teaching me to give, not receive. Though sometimes I can’t help wanting things: a consistent schedule, less stress, someone to come home to, more time with friends, more loving.
The wanting won’t likely go away. But I do think I can do something to abate it. I can give: energy, honesty, kindness; patience, love. And especially forgiveness. Because damn do I need that too.
I finished a book today, Redeployment, by Phil Klay. It won the National Book Award, (I mentioned it in last week's post), and wow, wow, wow, it was a worthwhile read. I recently told a friend that I like war stories because they swear a lot and their lives are nothing like mine. These are not good reasons to like war stories, I don't think. But I'm intrigued by what I don't know. And the honesty of Phil Klay's writing--or what seems to be honesty (I guess I can't really know), compells me to belief, to attention. I mentioned Tim O'Brien last week--his The Things They Carried and If I Died In a Combat Zone will stay with me forever. Phil Klay's book was like that. I almost gave it away to one of my buddies today, but I didn't. (Oops, one more thing I'm hoarding). If I see Redeployment on a shelf again, I'll snatch it and send it away. It should be read.
My goals for December? Finish A Prayer For Owen Meany, The Seven Storey Mountain, and Ursula Le Guin's The Wizard of Earthsea.
Cheers, blessings, keep reading, keep loving. Be brave.