It's fitting that a post that will list things for which I am grateful should begin with Evan, my shiny new nephew. Before the list, there's this: due to Evan and the confusion about the holidays, where we would go, when we'd visit, and so on, I ended up here, in Columbus, not near Florida where the esteemed little man is and not in Utah which is and will always be: home. So I woke this morning feeling a little bit lost, pathetic as it sounds, lonely and untethered by all that is not stitching me down to any one place right. I love this job, my students overwhelm me with delight, joy, and yes, thanks, and the friends I have--however not here they may be--are wonderful people, but it's Christmastime and I feel a little wistful, cold and reflective. So in light and in honor:
The Gratitudes of 2009
1. Evan George McKinnon: diapered-miracle who sometimes moonlights as a giraffe.
2. Gingerbread coffee, care of Nicole (thank you!)
3. Perenially but better-daily: my family. This is the year that my two sisters became my closest friends.
4. My garden tomatoes (thank you Bear for digging my garden!)
5. The Bear, the Bird, the Boys-Lost I Peppermint Patty through my days alongside. It's a wonderful Neverland to fly.
6. Women wise and gorgeous that somehow find and friend me. Lesley, Liz, Kathrine, Karima, CindyKing! Elizabeth, (the)Kate, Krista, Karin, Michelle, Steph, Antonia, Christina, Mary, Susan, and both Holly and her husband Peter whose love and help way back in 2003 are still assisting me.
7. Space heaters.
8. The spill of students/friends who are too vast to keep naming but who cannot neglect to include Sean and the odd-loveliness of Scott's worldview and words.
9. Antony & the Johnsons (thank you Lesley!) The Avett Brothers, Ed Sharpe, more Nick Cave and the new M. Ward. All what 2009 gave me musically.
10. Rumpled book boys with eyes like the woodsy heart of forests in afternoon or the cool thing that the word limelight does to my brain.
11. Zelda-rooms, good books, good book-lenders.
12. New stories: Palindrome, Happiness Falls, NY, countless poems. The words that salve and save me when my curioser-self partakes of worlds too slick and fast for my own good. And yet...
13. Prabhakar's healing. The merciful life and death of Cynthia. The year it's been and all she taught us.
14. Drusilla--always, always Drusilla and how much comfort she gives my BFF.
15. Thai Spicy Basil; grown in a windowbox, made into my first Thai Seafood Soup. So spicy, so worth-it.
16. Likewise Gladys, Bronte, Schrodinger.
17. Morning smoothies-today's was mocha with ginger and pure vanilla extract.
18. Cherry-Oat Bars from Bakery Gingham. One a week and only if I earned it, but I work hard to earn it.
19. John Cage Festivals. The knowing that I had my people and they had those hearts and brains and I got to be near all of it. I don't know that I love Cage but I loved the work we did. I raise my 2009 goblet to Michelle! to Kate!
20. Coraline in 3d. Up (my God!) The movies that make me sorry that heaven and hell might be theatre-free.
22. Understanding Radiohead's Creep in a more profound way than ever before.
23. Basi Italia and their zucchini appetizers.
24. The Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and their conical, skirt of lights.
25. Pumpkin Spice Coffee at Get-go. You can taste the nutmeg. (Noticing a trend in what I'm grateful for?)
26. Metro Fitness' badass, grungy, down-to-business facility. How many times I have I burned away the regrets of mid-year in your familiar walls? The black and white photographs of bodybuilders of old that line the stairs down to the locker room. And on a day when I felt less than wonderful: that tall, pretty-eyed Honda Boy who made me laugh.
27. Rilke's quote about loving the questions and maybe living into the answers. This was my year for understanding it completely. The year I saw through with months of J and the way that nothing I did or was would make or break the outcome. The friendship and respect eeked out of all of that confusion. But miraculously, this is the year I would get to know the rest of someone's story who so-impacted my way of seeing things last year. What I longed for, I long for no more. But what I have: my own "pitbull-guardian-angel" Sicilian-fierce and brotherly-protective has made the last December's first meeting into an answer that shines light on all of the new questions, fears and things best left unthought and unfrettered with musings. Living. Living. Living. More adventures. More poppies and picnics. Music boxes and nectarines
28. Lakeside Amusement Park and the Wild Chipmunk ride that nearly changed the shape of American Poetry.