Today is November 1st, and we woke up to a darkened sky made heavier by the chilly drain dripping from thick clouds hanging low. It was a skip-coffee-and-breakfast and sit-in-traffic-for-an-hour and 15-minutes-late-for-class kind of morning. With my impending surgery in 20 days, I have a lot on my mind: the workload for school hogging my plate, all of the fears and worries that are associated with health problems, burdonsome finances, and managing the emotions of those who love me and worry for me. All of that on top of the regular life things.
With all of that in mind, in oversized snuggly clothes I wandered from astronomy lab to the aderhold learning center to use the microwave for lunch. Apparently, it’s also a can’t-find-the-fork-I-could-have-sworn-I-packed, guess-I-will-be-eating-this-pasta-dish-with-my-fingers kind of day too. (Yes, theoretically I could have walked to a restuarant and gotten a plastic fork. But I was already unpacked and food cooked. Fingers it was.
The Aderhold building is deserted. Mixing the mishaps of the day with the dreariness of outside, sprinkling on the haunting empty feeling an empty campus brings you (on the Day of the Dead, no less), it leads to a sour and thin soul-feeling. I don’t like it, I don’t approve.
My day will go from strange to lovely as the day goes on: I will be riding a soothing bus down to Athens, and tonight will be a candle-and-prayer-and-coffee sort of night.
It makes me feel thankful. Which brings me back to the origin of this muse.
A friend posted a blog article today about how statistically November is the most depressing month. As I look at how it’s begun, I can’t help but agree. The article went on to encourage thankfulness and gratitude to ward off the depression and gloom. Three things a day, according to research, leaves one 25% happier. How in the hell these are measurable things I really can’t understand. But it is worth exploration.
- I am thankful for friends who open their homes. Doors swung wide, couches soft, wine and tea and coffee poured lavishly. That friendship includes shared space. Home being made whole by community. Sleeping vulnerably under the roof of a loved one.
- I am grateful for my roof. When I woke up this morning, the rain pattered against the window, and I thought to myself how safe and warm I felt as the Earth was replenished with water and I got to lie comfortably in my home and rest. When I had to leave home, I simply put an umbrella over my head for the freakin’ 10 foot walk from my porch to the car port. I could comfortably get into my vehicle because of the overhead cover, and once inside the car, I felt grateful again. Warm and dry. Sheltered and safe. Fortunate beyond comprehension.
- Going back to the last thing, I also felt grateful for my bed today. And for my couches, and all the chairs in my house. Places to rest, plush and soft and warm. I am grateful for the pillows and comforters and sheets. I get to climb peacefully into a soft, clean, dry place where I never have to think about dirt or bugs or rain or strangers. I’ll never forget the night Chris and I walked past a man sleeping huddled beneath an awning a few weeks ago during a downpour. I don’t know his circumstances, but I feel selfishly lucky to not sleep there, tonight or ever. I am lucky, I don’t know why.
I don’t want this month to be marked like a scar with the looming incisions and IV tubes and recovery pains. I don’t want to remember November 2013 with a cringe or a sigh. As the countdown to my surgery began as the first thought in my mind when I awoke, I choose to change the rhythm of this month and turn it a little louder, and dance along. I will sing gratitude choirs this month, hoping an attitude readjustment can sweep like echoes into the coming months as well.