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Gratitude in Slow Motion

Today it is frigid cold. With the little bit of sun that peers through the high clouds here and there, the finches have finally dared to come out of their tucked-away nests to eat at the feeders. Our elkhound, on day three of no proper exercise (because I have been fighting a virus and have had no energy for our usual routine), is sitting just feet from me on the couch, staring at me and sighing heavily every few minutes. When I let him out he bounds around the yard chasing the finches, the males fly away but the females indulge his boredom and tauntingly dive bomb him as he barks at them, dancing under the branches of the barren cottonwood tree. Our bees our tucked away beneath a few inches of snow, huddled in a small humming bee ball - surviving against all odds in a miracle of millenia-old wisdom. This is a lazy day. A gloriously lazy day of single-digit temperatures, light falling snow flakes interspersed with a milky sun, me on the couch with a blanket over my legs, plotting the course of a month-long cleanse the Earthquake Man and I will begin tomorrow. It would be easy for me to get overwhelmed here: how will I keep us fed when at least half the things we love are now in a no-fly zone? How will we fill the bellies of our bottomlessly ravenous teenagers while we are relegated to brown rice, organic chicken and kale?

I can hear the Earthquake Man now, "These are champagne problems Baby...champagne problems." Oh he's right. Simply to be exactly where I am right now, even in this strange liminal place of sickness, is a luxury. I am warm. I can stay home by the fire all day. If I feel up to it, I can venture out to Whole Foods and purchase the menu items for the first phase of our cleanse. Things like clean salmon, greens, fresh ginger, millet, apples and coconut nectar. Really! Champagne problems. There are not words to express my gratitude for this moment right here. Shitty lingering virus and all. In fact, the virus is yet another opportunity to remember how inconceivably fortunate I am.

I remember returning from South Africa after spending three weeks in the township of Lawley One outside of Johannesburg. I stood in front of my kitchen sink and turned the faucet on and off, watching clean clear water miraculously appear, and just wept at the fact of indoor plumbing and the impossible man-made reality of economic disparity and the seeming randomness of fate.

Because of all this, today I am remembering my unending gratitude for this life that is mine. Today I will take account of the extraordinary love that is continuously offered me - from my family and community, the cottonowood tree and the milky winter sun, our elkhound and the finches, the Earthquake Man and our home, and oh the fire and central heating ! - letting it all sink into my aching bones and feed me there.

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