Friday, November 2, 2012

In the Spirit to notice

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Yesterday, I began to count my blessings – one a day during this thanksgiving month – inspired by the practice of friends on Facebook. I don’t intend just to acknowledge them, but to revel in them, absorbing their goodness and expressing true appreciation.

After a cold and stormy few days thanks to Sandy (but nothing like the East has experienced), I gratefully walked to work in the bright sun and brisk air. It was invigorating. I noticed a neighbor reeling in a spider web from the night before and asked her how Trick or Treat had gone, assuming, like many of the rest of us, it was a bust. On the contrary, she’d had a blast handing out treats and wreaking havoc by lowering the suspendable spider on those unaware. It was Joyce’s first Halloween in our neighborhood. She had no idea that her street typically hosts over 500 costume-clad kids. Her enthusiasm was untainted. I also discovered she has knowledge to impart to me, an old-timer, about the neighborhood: a great replacement-window company and specifically whom to call at Duke Energy to get covers for annoying streetlights. She was eager to share and extol the virtues of East Milford.

Often we forget what we have right in front of us. This morning encounter set the tone for the rest of the day – most especially Joyce’s invitation to join her some evening on the front porch by the fire pit for a glass of wine. Turns out we’re exactly the same age and she is a massage therapist. I told her all about my shaman.

I enjoyed a splendid morning and afternoon in my studio, re-organizing after last week’s mask workshop and anticipating Nov 10’s Artsy Fartsy, winterizing around the air conditioner, recovering from endless days of grant-writing and just hanging out in this beautiful space. I decided to make a few Artsy-Fartsy-related drop-offs on my way home. First, to the wonderful man who provides our transportation. I owed him copies of the kids’ permission forms and an invitational packet for his son. Yes, that means I may have boys next week! While Kelvin wasn’t home, I met his neighbor, each of us smiling as we basked in the sun. I rounded the corner to make another delivery and heard my paperboy’s rooster crow. Reminded me of when I’d gather eggs from my grandparent’s chicken house and shanghaied it for a playhouse.

Next on my list was a stop at the home of Dorian, a fifth-grade boy anxious to become part of Artsy Fartsy. I’d met him in the school parking lot last week and invited him to the program. His second-grade brother, Dalton, tried to convince me he was old enough. In two years, I told him, though his winsome smile and charms almost weakened me. They were with two other boys, sixth graders. When I checked their interest, one impolitely told me “art sucks.” I explained, that as an artist, that was somewhat insulting. I then asked what he was going to be for Halloween. With somewhat more interest, he replied, the Scream. I promptly Googled an image on my phone and told him it was a famous painting and that art did not suck. He remained unimpressed. That’s okay, I told myself, I’ve got Dorian. Dorian is a sweetheart and so eager to be engaged. He’s the oldest of five living in a three-room house with a father who’s really trying to parent and a mother battling cancer.

Though I heard crashing just inside the door, I knocked anyway. One of Dorian’s younger brothers answered. I handed the information to the father, who said he’d make sure it was completed and Dorian could drop it by my house, just down the alley.

I walked home to my own children, said hello and set out, on foot, on a couple of quick shopping errands. As I returned, Dorian and Dalton were buzzing down the street on scooters. Dorian was elated when I said I’d dropped the forms off. All he wanted to know is “When is it?” A week from Saturday and you can ride the van with Kelvin. The van belongs to the church next to Dorian’s house.

I adore my neighborhood and, yesterday, felt that God truly placed me here … to live, interact with, learn from, nurture and be nurtured by my neighbors.

• How is this season tapping into my sense of gratitude?
• What are some of the blessings I take for granted?
• How have others helped me see those blessings?
• When have I felt in sync with Spirit, belonging where I am now?
• How have I expressed gratitude for that?

a simple urge,
really, just
to get out into
the sunshine
and walk

with a destination,
but not a

the luxury
of making
it a

the gifts

and being
in the
to notice

thank you

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