Several people have sourly said, “Good riddance to 2022.” This day, swaddled in dense fog that muffles sound and limits sight, I’m reflecting on 2022. As we noted in the Gratitude jar on the shelf, the year before, “Good things DID happen (in 2021).” Below are some generalizations of Gratitudes gleaned from the scraps of notes stuffed in the pickle jar on the counter.
Any number of times I noted “sublime day.” Perhaps the air and sun were in perfect balance. We completed errands smoothly. Or our energy simply flowed easily. Sitting on the deck with the bunny stretched out we were at ease.
Our few camping experiences gave respite to the “busyness” of the days. Quiet. No cell phones. Close to nature. Tall tulips in PA on our way to Falling Water. Weird geological formations in Nebraska’s Toadstool. The hoot of an owl in Iowa’s Yellow River.
Getaways and Friends
Other getaways offered contrasts. Floating the Niobrara River on a calm, mild spring day followed by driving through a blinding snowstorm the next day. The renovated, upscale Belvoir Winery & Inn in Missouri is surrounded by decrepit buildings of the long-abandoned Odd Fellows rest home. Reliving a dusty Kansas cattle drive in old Abilene at 109 degrees and stepping into the modern coolness of the Eisenhower and Truman Presidential Museums.
Interactions with friends and family. Reflecting on neighbor interactions, to book clubs, to yoga, to Firepit Friday gatherings, to coffee in the cabin and coffee shops, to the Veriditas and The Labyrinth Society colleagues. And, the bunny, Oreo, who was a wonderful Pandemic friend. She is still with us in memories and evidence of chewed cords and door frames. She was a character and a good friend.
Family connections over the miles on Facetime, ZOOM, in person, calls, photos, emails, and letters/cards. A way to be engaged with each other.
Engaging activities keep us active, healthy, and connected: Hoover Hatchery monthly blogs and Facebook Lives, writing for magazines and The Gazette, our Winding Pathways blogs, guiding labyrinth walks in person and virtually with Veriditas, walking and bicycling – on trails and (walking) inside as needed, playtime and projects with neighbor kids, monitoring students’ online course progress through Kirkwood Community College, watching Great Courses, helping with Faith Formation at church. And, appreciating the creative spirit and functionality of the Director of Faith Formation. The centering and balancing work with cancer patients and staff at the Nassif Community Cancer Center.
Reflecting on Deferred Gratification
Reflecting on the benefits of “deferred gratification” by having been careful with resources over the years and repairing/nurturing the land. Thanking the derecho trees for providing heat in the winter’s woodstove. Planting, tending and harvesting garden produce. Appreciating the chickens and giving them treats and a warm, safe place to live.
Thinking ahead: checking the air conditioner in April before the hot weather. Similarly, servicing the furnace and hot water heater in August. Maintaining the vehicles for optimal mileage and comfort – Rotate tires, change oil, fill windshield cleaner, change the blades, wash the outside, and detail the inside of the vehicles. Knowing steps to be prepared for outages, to stay home in inclement weather, and simply be at ease with what is.
Supporting educational to non-profit organizations locally and across the country.
Although we can be sour about the downs of 2022, and there were a number of them, we can also appreciate the positives. That slight shift in reflecting helps ease the path for ourselves and others as we journey into 2023. Now, with gratitude for reflecting on 2022, I respectfully add these gratitudes to the woodstove that keeps us warm. The memory of these reflections keeps my heart warm.