Waiting, watching, anticipating . . . what better symbol for Advent than the earthy little paperwhite bulb? Fill a paper bag at the nursery and then harvest joy in your kitchen windowsill. Nestle them in pebbles, add water and just let what's inside thrive. Bright green stems will shoot toward the light and burst into the freshest-smelling snowy white blossoms. A tiny tabletop miracle.
It was fun to keep a running gratitude list on Instagram during the month of Thanksgiving, a trendy way to keep life from slipping by unnoticed. I started as macro as I could possibly get (God!) and worked my way to the micro and the momentary. From mom and dad and seasons, senses, rituals, artists, color, music and all creatures, great and small. To work, home, hope, books and the places that anchor us when we become unmoored (this on the day of the Paris attacks). There was gratitude for a favorite tree (the Christ Church ginkgo) and for the act of gratitude itself, the great antidote to ennui and entitlement. Looking back, it was such an extraordinary, ordinary, unique and unforgettable month. Just like they all are.
November blusters in bearing its special connotation of thanksgiving. With as many reasons to be grateful as there are leaves falling onto sodden sidewalks in gorgeous disarray. That is to say, an infinite number. Even though some stores open on the fourth Thursday to hawk their Black Friday specials, it is virtually impossible to commercialize the concept of gratitude. It's as humble as homemade pie, as bright as a bowl of cranberries, as real as the loved ones gathered around the table of your heart.
When is the last time you found a personal note peeking out of your mailbox? From someone who gathered paper, pen or laptop (and thoughts) and focused solely on dear, wonderful you? Well, there will always be correspondence to open here. Love letters from life, written just for you.