Veronica's Garden

Rachel Creager Ireland on writing, living, the Flint Hills, and the Post Rock Limestone Caryatids

Category: Marlo

The Postrock Limestone Caryatids and friends give thanks

Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving all. Today I thought I’d invite some of my friends to share their thanksgivings. I suppose I’ll start with myself, Veronica Speedwell. I’m grateful for the land, the Flint Hills, the soil, the life supported here. I’m grateful for the nature spirits and wildflowers, somnolent as they are in this fall of the year. I’m grateful for community and to have a place here, to have a purpose that suits me well. Next up . . .

Melch Weaver: I’m grateful for history, and for those before me who saw fit to save some history for my benefit. I’m hopin’ to leave some for those after me, though doesn’t look too likely there’ll be anyone to pick up where I’ll eventually leave off.

Marlo: I’m so deeply grateful to be part of the process of regenerating life, to have women to work with who are still willing to birth babies the way our bodies were meant to. It is a rare privilege. I’m also grateful to the people in our community, who all work so diligently together to make a living for us all.

Starla Winnie: Hm, I’m grateful for my friends, for music, for the road, for freedom.

Mando Winnie: I’m grateful for my mando. Grateful for ethanol, which gets me around. Grateful for wide open spaces and for the Pecan Grove, a home to come back to for a few weeks every year.

Rachel Creager Ireland: I’m grateful for everything. Every every every thing, for joy and pain and sadness, fear, anger, ecstasy, love, rage, peace, sleeping, waking. Every feeling, every minute, every thought, each tiny piece of the big picture of what it is to be human, to be alive, really alive, right now, imagination intact and heart open. I’m grateful for inexplicable waves of ecstatic gratitude, and I am deeply, inexpressibly grateful to all of you who are on this awesome journey with me. Blessings. Shalom. Namaste.

Marlo on Gratitude and Weather

Note from Veronica: Dear readers, allow me to introduce my friend Marlo, head midwife and leader of the Postrock Limestone Caryatids.

Summer is winding down, and the sweltering days have begun to falter to milder ones, with cool mornings, enough that we can welcome the sun. When I have no patients, I sometimes slip off to the garden, for an excuse to do something useful out in the fresh air.

That’s what I was doing today, picking tomato worms (which Veronica informs me are really hawk moth caterpillars, not worms at all) and feeding them to the chickens, who were also enjoying the lovely weather, clucking and strutting about the vegetables. Turkey vultures were circling lazily overhead, and monarchs were fluttering by. It couldn’t get any better than this, I thought, being among so much life on a beautiful morning, and I felt a deep gratitude emanating from my heart chakra. It occurred to me to give thanks for my blessings.

But I had to pause. The weather doesn’t exist for us, any more than the planet does. It just is, the way it is, with all its variations, the rain and wind and warm air chasing one another around the planet in constant interplay. So where, then, does one put one’s gratitude? Perhaps the gratitude is not so much for what the weather is, as for being a being who can enjoy it, a life form whose needs are perfectly matched to her niche. For being a creature of sensuality and self-awareness, present in the present moment. I am grateful for being simply who and what I am, for the privilege of experiencing joy.

It’s like when a birth goes smoothly and the baby and mother do well, and everyone says, “Our prayers have been answered.” Suppose, instead, there is a problem, the baby is injured or sick, or, worse, the mother or baby or both are lost. Is it right to say that our prayers haven’t been answered? How do we maintain faith in the face of tragedy?

Does religion give us a better way of looking at this question? I haven’t found it in Christianity. Buddhism might be more helpful, since it doesn’t offer us anyone to pray to. We’re not supposed to want any particular weather; we’re supposed to be present and aware, without judgment or attachment, through whatever we get.

Another answer came to me from a Mayan shaman, Martin Prechtel. I paraphrase from a book I read years ago, and the extent of my inaccuracy will be the degree to which I have made this concept my own. What he said was that the difficulties and discomforts of life are not bad things for us to suffer through on the way to the good; rather it is all one package, and it is the greatest privilege to experience it, every bit, all the joy and pain and love and suffering. It is all worthy of our gratitude.

Many people seem to think it their spiritual duty to remember at all times the abundant blessings they are given, in spite of difficulties and trials. I think it a higher calling yet to be joyful and grateful through everything we get, whether we are able to enjoy it or not. The greatest blessing is just to be here.

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