Zoë Landale

Writer & Indie Publisher

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Part 2 of Five Magics I Want My Granddaughter to Remember if I Get Flattened By a Low-Flying Cloud Tomorrow

2.) Gratitude is magic, pure and simple. What can you find to be grateful for?

Lots of tiny birds flitting in the safety of the rosehips.

This morning I was walking around a lake near our house. The steep hills were getting to me and I was feeling about twenty years older than I do on any good day when I stride out. This morning I was exhausted. My bones were sore. My husband’s had two operations within the last three months, and it’s taken it out of me, caring for him. It didn’t help that I’d had a Hep A and Hep B shot the day before in preparation for some very costly new medication that requires multiple vaccinations.

I thought of that writer who had been so bitter. He’d taught me more than he knew. He’d taught me that other than working hard, we can’t control our success. What if rather than looking at our professional lives as a competition—there will always be friends more successful than we are—we practiced cooperation? In the past, I’ve even had friends who were applying for writing jobs tell me about them and encourage me to apply for the same gigs! To this day, I hold up those particular big-heartednesses like glowing beacons.

This morning, I caught myself starting to feel down. But hey, I wasn’t limping. Salal leaves glistened in the rain. The sword ferns that bordered the trail were picking themselves up after a bitterly dry summer. Seeing the tough evergreen sword ferns start to revive was a relief. The whole island I live on is breathing out gratitude for the rain. Even firs and cedars hold their fronds differently when they are well watered. The rain has also knocked the fire hazard down.

Kira, our Golden Doodle, leads the way, frolicking down to the beaver dam and into the water. She wades in up to her shoulders, stirring up clouds of silt, and slurping gulps of water. Then the dog leaps out and does spinnies on the trail. Spinnies: this is where she turns in a tight circle very fast. The correct response is for me to run at her. Then she circles and charges at me, swerving at the last moment. We continue this game until the human part of the equation runs out of energy or picks up a stick to change the game. On these walks, Kira expresses such joy I’m always humbled. I want to be as delighted by life as my dog. You do know god is just dog spelled backward?