Gratitude — Monday, December 1st

1. For time away from my daily routine. For using my brain differently. For sleeping in. For reading a book in two days. Not a pamphlet, I said a book. Don’t be fresh. For growing up a little bit more. For growing away from some things, and towards others. Like a dilapidated sapling, bending towards the light.

2. For noticing things, and for the gifts I receive in doing so. For the scent of pine wafting from city tree lots as my husband and I¬†walk hand-in-hand down Amsterdam Avenue. For the way my father says “honey” or “sweetheart” or “babe” on the phone with me when he’s in a good mood. For the restored brass-caged ticket booth at the front facade of the Beacon Theatre. For old signs and pressed tin ceilings in outerborough bakeries. For the fact that I can look up offhandedly on a street corner say, “That’s the Ansonia,” and tell my husband about the small farm once kept on the roof a hundred years ago, and that the Continental Baths were once in the building’s basement — and keep old New York alive if nowhere else but in tender, small places within me. For sitting in a 1920s-era high school auditorium and listening to a dear friend play violin at a local holiday pops concert, while closing my eyes, and feeling the swell of the Blue Danube Waltz. For that silent space between the awful thing being said, and the recipient’s response. For the tilt of a drunken man’s face, and the recognition of my femininity in his watery gray eyes, as I tuck a lock of hair behind my ear. For the twinkle of Christmas lights, sudden and bright, and still magical when they first appear in the darkness.

3. For this passage from Ann Patchett’s “Truth & Beauty,” which I devoured over the weekend.

“‘It’s amazing how you remember everything so clearly,’ a woman said…’All those conversations, details. Were you ever worried that you might get something wrong?’”

“‘I didn’t remember it,’ Lucy said pointedly, ‘I wrote it. I’m a writer.’”

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