This Thanksgiving, grief tinges my gratitude. Grief for those who once sat around the table. Grief for those missing their lost ones. Grief for losses tangible and intangible—the physical touches, the smiles now hidden behind masks, the conversations at the coffee machine, the commute. Grief for the monotony of workdays, meals, walks, Netflix. Grief for a lost year. Indeed, the griefs feel endless.
Yet… and yet… deep within this grief flutters something small, a minute ember of hope. The kindling of hope is gratitude, which in turn is the realization of what we have. I find myself thankful for things which, not so long away, I took for granted: a sunny morning, the way candlelight flickers on my tin ceiling, the warm weight of my dog by my side, the unexpected ‘good morning’ text from my daughter, coffee in my wee garden, twenty-four hours without a city shooting, swallows darting over roof decks seeking dinner. Grateful for the man who delivers my groceries, the nurse who swabs my nose, the neighbor who rakes the leaves gathered in the culvert. Grateful for the city skyline which unreels at the harbor’s edge. Grateful for the flaming petals of my pineapple sage, small bees buried in its plumage. Thankful for the health of my children.
So many tiny things overlooked before.
In between the days of numbing zoom calls and technological interruptions, the nights of streaming and doom-scrolling and insomnia, the pervasive brain and heart fogs that make every day last forever and each month pass with the speed of sound, I consider this: perhaps the gift in this pandemic is embracing the gorgeousness of the slight, often unseen, things in each moment.