Don’t spare me the details

Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hey, just in case.

In case I get up in the morning already chomping at the number one task on the number one list, already back in last night’s thoughts, the ones sputtering like grease in a pan before I drift off to sleep. In case I forget that my old-seeing eyes can be freshened every day with things like light, surprises, a magnifying glass or my palms on closed lids for a second of peace.

In case I get lazy or bored or take things for granted or don’t make room for something a little harder to handle but worth it.  In case I start looking at nature as if were part of the furniture, or the furniture as if it weren’t a privilege to sit on something soft and comfortable and cozy. In case I idle too long in one place without noticing what’s right out the window or the breeze coming in against my cheek. In case I stop rolling down the window.

In case I start thinking that life is all material world and bills and piles of stuff. That it’s all about me and my body and ego and personality and the three percent of the brain I use, the forty or so percent of heart and who knows how much spirit. In case I forget the power of my five senses to reboot my take on things at any moment of any day. In case I lose track of what’s real – and in case I think I know what’s really real all the time. In case I flag, and stand there under a twinkling black umbrella sky, thinking, “Is this all there is?”

Whichever case, give me details to set me straight. Shove me up against the wall with them and then once I’ve surrendered, let the rich particulars of the world spill out of their gilding for me. Gifts — if only I will let them in.

Give me a panoply to remind of abundance in my life, the ridiculous show of riches that are mine. Give me sliced lemons, and mint, cardamom, pomanders, orange blossoms, eucalyptus. Give me the smell of oil paint, the smell of graphite, of pencil shavings, of shorn grass. Give me leaves, turned yellow and tossed in the wind. Give me the mountain air in my nose, and wood fires and chestnuts and wet woolens and wafting perfume in a spiral stair. Give me the earth of spring and the rot of fall. Sweet berries and sticky, piney resin dripping from a tree. Give me every taste bud on active duty and five senses acting more like fifty.

Give me pocket watches and owls and fountain pens, dark clouds, bits of paper, wooden matches, scrawled words, silver dollars, cactus blossoms, babies’ heads, gold tassels, Lucite, insect wings, the pants on crows, a cat in a window, candlelight, pressed handkerchiefs, old movies, gold ink, grey mists, clear lakes, and elk snorting in the snow. Give me things I’ve never seen, heard, or smelled before. Give me to patience to be there for them.

Give me a hand in mine, soft looks that cannot be described, a child’s quick smile, pealing laughter, cool sheets on a hot night, the smell of someone’s skin. Then give me silence. And dreams that weave their gold threads through a tapestry of days.

Give me sunrise and the leaping heart to witness it right. Give me heavy cream in my coffee, a heavy blanket, a blanket of snow, the sound of familiar footsteps, familiar songs, music like dental floss through my ears. Give me stained glass, cathedral spires, buttons in a box, brass zippers. Give me city lights. Dripping icicles. Sand under my feet. Shoulders relaxing. A yawn. A sneeze. The feeling of feet, my feet, firmly rooted on Earth, Mother Earth. Give me bluebirds following me, post to post. An eagle sitting tall in a tree and then – miraculously – taking to the air. Give me the sound of those wings, of flight itself.

This is my Thanksgiving prayer, my prayer for the holidays – to raise details to their rightful place and pluck them like sugarplums one by one. May we all have the grace, gratitude and imagination required to truly savor their sweet harvest.

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