Saturday, October 17, 2009


Gratitude

It is difficult to imagine a more sublime collection of hours than the twenty-four that constitute a Saturday in autumn. I wait for them all week, all year - and they never disappoint.
Those maple-syrup mornings, when we throw open the windows to a crisp and cheerful greeting from the wind. Those pumpkin-orange afternoons spent planting red chrysanthemums and purple cabbages, pink pansies and lemon thyme, while the dogs chase each other through the garden, surprised once again by October. Those warm and cozy nights when the only place on earth I want to be is in my kitchen, stirring a cauldron of homemade soup, peeking in on an oven full of rising bread, with Edward and Apple dozing on the floor.

On these delicious Saturday evenings I am always joined by the sounds of A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio. A long time staple in our house,
Prairie Home Companion is a wonderfully entertaining two hour variety show created and hosted by writer, Garrison Keillor. The show is funny and smart, with marvelous stories and eclectic music - everything from Jean Redpath to Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris to Yo-Yo Ma. We love it. I am convinced if Edward met Mr. Keillor, he would know him instantly, so well acquainted is he with the man’s voice.

The Songwriter and I were fortunate to talk with Mr. Keillor ourselves the other evening after he spoke at a local college here in town. A charming man, affable and witty, with just a soupcon of crankiness - just as I knew he would be. I was especially struck by the words he spoke on the subject of gratitude. In response to a question from the audience about God, he replied that the only way he knew to live, and the only way he knew to relate to God, was in gratitude. I sighed a happy sigh of recognition, for I so agree. Indeed, I have long felt that if we spent our hours feeling thankful for the gifts we’ve been given, gifts that are never more evident than in the month of October, what contentment we would find.
Glowing stars in a velvet sky.... a blue-green Cinderella pumpkin resting solemnly under the leaves of a foxglove.... a perfect Honeycrisp apple.... a dog’s cold nose and smiling face.... drifting off to sleep under goose down while an autumn rain peppers the fallen leaves outside.
Once you begin to notice, the simple beauty, the grand mystery, that lies just waiting to be found in the natural world this time of year is endless. So much to be grateful for. I was warmed to the bones to hear Mr. Keillor express the importance of gratitude so clearly. He is a wise man. And his radio show makes the best autumnal Saturday even better.

**************************

Welcome Morning

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

~ Anne Sexton ~


46 comments:

  1. Sweet friend, you always say the right thing and I am agreeing with you and GK! Dear God, I chanced upon his audio book (my first and almost last) as a young teen and was entranced by the dulcet and ironic voice that read his own work. How marvelous that you met him! I adore writers; pop stars and actors I forget, writers fill my heart.

    I am grateful for you and your open heart. I wonder if you would post perhaps a song one day, of you backed up by the Songwriter - I am intrigued by this artistic family that bakes and breaks bread in gratitude.

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  2. Pamela, I think we may be long-lost cousins. I love Keillor, too. How wonderful that you got to meet and talk with him! I teach a short essay by Keillor to my freshmen writing students, and they really love it. It's called "Sweet, Sweet Corn," and it's a hymn to simplicity and goodness and home.

    Oh, and I love Anne Sexton so much. Like Mary Oliver, she is a regular staple in my poetry diet. Wouldn't it be nice if we lived near each other so we could meet for coffee and talk about poetry?!

    Thank you for the gift of this post!

    xoxo Gigi

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  3. This is so true. If only everyone lived with their hearts and minds set on gratitude to God for our blessings.

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  4. What a beautiful, rich post, full of grace and charm. Thank you for your words, your wisdom.

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  5. We use to listen to PHC every Saturday evening- hmmm... we should get back into that. I adore the autumn weekends. Cooking, baking a warm fire and just being at home and still. At first I thought this was going to be lines from Joy in the Morning- have you read it? It's an favorite autumn read. Right down to putting sprigs of Bittersweet in an old jelly jar.

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  6. If I left now I could just make it in time for Saturday. Please leave a space at the table - your evening sounds heavenly! Leigh

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  7. Ver uplifting to have someone in your life like Keilor that spurns you on to gratitude., for it spins the sliver of hope we need for our day (maybe more than a sliver:) )

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  8. Such a lovely post. I long for an October Saturday..just as that.

    You are truly a master with words ~

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  9. Pamela - I love Garrison Keillor, too, and had the honor of meeting him last year on my birthday!! What a special treat. He paints such a picture with words - as do you. I so look forward to your posts and my husband often asks - "Did Pamela post today?" - so we both enjoy your words. Thank you so much for sharing your gift -
    Judie

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  10. I'd have to agree with Pajudie's husband, I wake up every morning as well and wonder if you've posted. Such a lovely post, and such a lovely way you have with words.

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  11. So true, Pamela. It's easy to spend time concentrating on the things that are missing, the things that annoy us and forget to give thanks. But so much better when you remember. What a treat to have met and chatted to the great Garrison Keillor.

    I'm in total agreement about the joys of autumn.

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  12. I love to spend times of meditation thinking of all the things I am thankful for. My list can go on and on and I always feel better when I've spent time this way. What a beautiful post. I am going to see if we can find the Prairie Home companion on one of our radio stations. Thanks for reminding me of how wonderful it is!

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  13. I am yet another huge fan of Garrison Keillor ...and dread the day he decides to retire...I will miss his deep voice and his sense of humour and now his delightful philosophy of gratitude...which I try to adhere to too...How fortunate for you to have met him!

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  14. Such a cozy post. I too enjoy Prairie Home Companion... so entertaining! Have a lovely maple syrup Saturday.

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  15. You have a gift with words! Often have lurked about your glorious site just to read your musings on life.
    I just wanted you to know...I always feel so renewed when I stop by. I hope you have a divine weekend...and that Autumn last much longer for you than it has here where we reside...blessings...donna

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  16. I liked Garrison a lot before someone told him he could sing. Now, I ask myself whether his wonderful comedic writing and delivery is worth waiting through his singing to get to. Sometimes it is; other times, I don't make it, and I listen to something else until "The Story" comes on. Do you get that?

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  17. We have also been fans of GK ever since we first heard Lake Wobegon Days on the radio. I am pleased to hear that he lived up to your expectation. He has such a gentle and wise voice.

    You are absolutely right , we have so much to be grateful for.

    Isn't it funny how dogs love to be in the kitchen when someone is cooking?

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  18. Hi Pam,
    Because I can not find your email I let you know that I have given you the Kreativ Blogger Award! Hope you are happy with it!
    Check it out in my blogpost and if you want to you can post 7 things about yourself that people don't know yet and name 7 bloggers to give the award to.
    Please link Belgian Pearls into this post!

    Greet

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  19. Yes, I could see myself there with you and yours on a Saturday in October, full of Gratitude. (sketching all the while, a feast for my senses your gratitude)
    pve

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  20. We always say Pamela that a trouble shared is a trouble halved; a joy shared is a joy doubled.
    I love Garrison Keiler's Lake Woebegone - have read it so many times. And yes I can imagine he would be a little eccentric - how I love eccestrics, don't you?

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  21. Hello P&E,

    A beautiful summation of autumn, Pamela. I'm not really familiar with Mr K's work but know how much he is repsected.

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  22. NPR is a staple in our home, and so is living in gratitude. Once you make that choice, everything is so much richer, so much more beautiful and much less stressful. It's all about priorities and focus - one little shift in perception can change your entire life. For the better.
    Loved this post, Pamela. (love them all!)
    xo Isa

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  23. Tomorrow is Saturday...enjoy my dear...love the poem:))

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  24. Lovely verse and amazing poetry. I too like to hear Garrison Keillor, we have Canada Broadcasting Co. in Canada and they have a story teller on on Sunday noon, Pacific Time, who reminds me of Keillor. I also love the Autumn of the year, such a magical time, the opposite of Spring. Gratitude can be a lifestyle and it is one that I am persuing, otherwise there are too many disappointments and painful encounters in life that will leave us jaded and bitter. I will not be that person.
    Please come back and visit me again some time, thank you for your lovely comment today. Hugs, Cindy S.

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  25. Again you have brought a sense of joy to my heart. Thank you, my friend.

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  26. Wonderful..a very timely post. Its often only when something difficult happens that you remember to be grateful for the normal everyday things both large and small.
    Thank you.

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  27. being grateful has so many rewards - wonderful post as always - hugs to Edward :)

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  28. You describe the things so beautiful, I feel silent and devoted when I read all you write...thank you....

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  29. I am so pleased to be British and living in England, as I love the changing seasons. I don't have a favourite season, as they all have their own merits. Autumn brings us many gifts that we can be thankful for and I love it. Thanks for a lovely post on gratitude. I agree completely. XXXX

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  30. What a beautiful post! Absolutely agree- the best life lived is with gratitude! And, I like PHC- reminds me of the couple of years spent in MN too. :-)

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  31. I love autumn too, there is so much beauty at ths time of year. Thanks for your comment on my blog, yes I did think of Apple when we were celebrating Apple Day!

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  32. You have the most beautiful way of writing and alway on the most interesting topics! Gratitude is something I always wish to cultivate more of in my life. One of the books in my personal library is called "Seasons of Grace: The Life-Ging Practice of Gratitude" which was written by Alan Jones and John O'Neil and which I thoroughly enjoyed. Reading you inspiring post makes me think it is time to read this book again. Thank you.

    Gillian

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  33. A very heartwarming post Pamela. We spend so much time wanting this and that that we forget what we already have. Finding pleasure in simple things like a walk in the autumn leaves and a cuddle from a beloved animal friend. I like the way you spend Saturdays.

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  34. We are thinking along the same lines today. Very nice.

    Sometimes, when I remember and am not in too much of a hurry, I give thanks before a meal for all the hands that made it possible.

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  35. We have much to be thankful for.
    So many people spend time regretting that things are not perfect.....
    when were they ever really?
    It's good to be grateful.

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  36. What a lovely post. Have to say, I saw your sweet dog's face on BeingRuby and had to click on. Our dog, Plugger, looked exactly like your dog. Very sweet face.
    Now, back to reading your blog.

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  37. Dear God, Bless this open hearted women tonight for bringing your love and light to the land of blogging.

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  38. Lovely poem! I've saw Garrison Keller a couple of years ago ...he did not disappoint! :-)

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  39. Gratitude - what a wonderful word Pamela. May we all think it, feel it and show it often. xv

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  40. beautiful...heartfelt.

    I am grateful to be able to wrap myself in your words.

    Gratitude.

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  41. What a wonderful post. Living with a grateful heart, could life be any richer? As always, thank you for your thoughtful comments--for you, I am GRATEFUL!

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  42. Oh my dear you made my day. Thanks for sharing.
    All the very best,
    Simone

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  43. I am not surprised that we share a love for Autumn and Garrison Keillor. Steve introduced me to A Prairie Home Companion when we first were married 22 years ago. Garrison Keillor feels like part of the family.
    Being grateful is something I think about every day. I agree, Autumn is the perfect time to reflect on all of the gifts in life.

    xo
    Brooke

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  44. Lovely, profound post.

    That poem made me cry . . . but also because I've just heard that one of the kindest and most loving women I know has just died. She went through life with such a marked attitude of gratitude.

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!