Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~ Marcel Proust
Monica's post is a hard act to follow. What a heartfelt and important message! Thank you again, Monica.
While I am on the subject of gratitude, as we go into the harvest season, in which we gather the bounty for the long winter months, I am reminded of the bounty in my life in general. Sometimes it is important for me to stop and send a prayer of thanks heavenward for all that I have and for all that my life is. For tonight's post, I thought I would touch on at least a few of these things.
I love living in the Pioneer Valley, which David and I now call home. Besides it being a rich cultural experience, being the home of the five colleges, we also enjoy the bounty of the food grown in the valley — anything from asparagus (affectionately called Hatfield grass) in the spring to apples, pumpkins, and squashes of the late fall. In between we enjoy every kind of fruit and vegetable one can imagine, all grown right here in the valley. Because it is a river valley, the soil is a fine, rich silt that is reputed to grow anything. Rumors are you could plant a stick in the ground and it would grow.
I have really been enjoying biking this summer. I have a favorite route for that, in which I roll past a whole host of various crops, small farms, and the village of Sunderland. I see mountain views on one side and views of the winding Connecticut River on the other. Sometimes when I am coasting down a hill, heading toward Sugarloaf Mountain, I feel as though I am flying. Perhaps my appreciation for the feeling of freedom that bike riding gives me comes from the fact that bikes were forbidden in the Amish community where I grew up. Nothing like being deprived of it to appreciate it all the more.
I am also grateful for my job. It feels right to have landed in a German department in which my communication, organization, and creative skills come in handy for the varied work required of my position.
I am very happy with my writing life. I just love having the freedom to say what is on my mind here in this blog. And it would make no sense to write it if there was no audience. So thank you for reading. And I love getting reader feedback… it really makes blogging fun. I am also happy that my book will be out in January. (I will be writing more about that in a few days.) This book has been a long time coming, and to hold it in my hands for the first time will be a wonderful thrill.
I just love the home David and I are renovating. Every room in our house is my favorite… every one of them feels homey and lovely. The day our countertops were installed in our kitchen, I said to David, "When I was playing house in the woodshed as a little girl, I imagined many beautiful kitchens, but none so beautiful as this. And I could not have imagined sharing my beautiful kitchen with someone as wonderful as you." I cannot help but remind myself of my humble beginnings every now and again. It just makes me appreciate all my blessings so much more.
Perhaps the aspect of my life that I appreciate most of all is my relationship with David. I could write a book about David and his wonderful qualities, which is beyond the scope of this post, but I will say I cannot imagine my life without him in it. Not that we haven't had our share of difficulties together… our vastly different parenting styles led to many challenges when our boys were still at home, most especially during their teenage years. We didn't have much time as a couple before our son, Paul, showed up in our lives, and three years later, our second son, Tim. Now that they are out on their own, we are fully enjoying our "empty nest." We look forward to finishing the house project, traveling to new and different places together, and embarking on shared endeavors, including a shared memoir about how we met, were broken apart by circumstances, and then came back together. For fun, I am posting several pictures of David from the time I met him until more recently.
When we met, David was a toymaker, peddling his wares on Church Street in Burlington, Vermont (minus the long hair). Isn't that train exquisite…? Did I tell you David is very creative?