Gratitude for 2009

I am grateful to Mary Oliver who asks and answers most poetically 8 questions (in “Gratitude” from the book “What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems”). They strike me as good questions to ponder on the eve of a new year. I’ll ask her questions of myself and answer them much less poetically.

What did you notice? The preciousness of hope. That dying and new birth are sometimes indistinguishable. The strengths of my 4 children. (I’m including children’s spouses.) The creativity in silence. Sycamore bark.

What did you hear? A conversation of owls. The rumble of the falling Potomac shaking earth beneath my feet. Promises of gentle love. The singing of night prayer. Echoes of John.

What did you admire? Courage to speak truth. The black tipped wings of snow geese. The heart that drew and gave an icon of Jesus.

What astonished you? The bread placed in my hands. The stories of the person sitting beside me. God acting on prayer. An evening sky draped in rose fire.

What would you like to see again? Our too fat Christmas tree standing in the field. Dancing contemplatives. The joy in the faces of our oldest congregation members at a dinner in their honor. The blue heron standing in the Yellow Breeches. The moon coasting from one tree top to another.

What was the most tender? My daughter’s re-telling of a vivid dream: seeing her grandmother (who died in June) laughing, Alzheimer-free and playing with the frisky family dog Elsie (who had died the year before), no longer aged and arthritic.

What was most wonderful? The warming sun on a February afternoon. The sound of the red-winged blackbirds returned to the back field. My husband with his camera on a bike. The smell of the campfire in my clothes.

What did you think was happening? In him we live and move and have our being. Gratitude.

Pick a question; how would you answer?


  1. What did you hear?
    In a sermon at St Paul’s, I heard God’s words which made me reflect on His blessings in my life.
    What was most wonderful?
    How God guided me to St. Paul’s that day to hear those words.