Thank You For Not Breaking

Fire and Fog
pastel on paper, 8.4 x 11″

How many times had I walked past her, and not seen her? Even in Autumn, wearing her finest red dress, I would go straight to the car, on my way somewhere, or coming home––always in motion.

To really see her I would have to stop, for just a moment. To honor her beauty I would have to be still. 

Or so I thought. But now I think there is another way. It’s the way we might move through a grocery store filled with our neighbors, or gather in a church. We greet our friends, with smiles, with a hello. We acknowledge them with our voices.

This morning I dropped a cute decorative measuring cup. It has little red dots on the outside and a scalloped edge––just a little ceramic thing. And it didn’t break. I dashed to pick it up, and without thinking said, “Thank you for not breaking.”

Which is to say, the world is alive in ways I don’t see or understand. Obviously, my little ceramic bowl doesn’t have a heartbeat, or possess any reproductive capacities–but it is made of atoms, inexplicable packets of energy whirling through emptiness. Those atoms are organized into bowl. And it was made in the mind of someone, too. It carries a story.

I’m marveling that, really, I can speak my gratitude to every little thing, and every big thing, that comes into my sphere of influence. It’s so simple. 

The trees on the path.
The little dog curled in my lap every morning as I drink my coffee.
My husband, who brought the coffee.
The cup that holds the coffee, made by a friend. 
The orchids on the windowsill.
The light coming in through the window.
The Sun that offered the light.
The body that received it. 

It can be almost a game. How many conversations can I have in this day? How much beauty can I notice, and honor with my attention?

Because now, more than ever, it seems to me, the world wants to be seen. The little cup, the maple tree, the orchids.  “Thank you for your beauty,” I say. “Thank you for not breaking.”

And they answer back, in little snippets of conversation, just as a friend might when you come upon her the grocery store, evaluating the avocados.You offer a greeting, she tells you a little bit of her story, and you are both better for it.

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