For a closet door covered with post-it notes–a five-year plan in single words, each one an invitation. For Bluebird Tavern’s mocha creemees. For the wildflowers on my picnic table. For the friends and family who graced my home this weekend. For my grandmother’s teapot bright against newly painted green kitchen walls. For recycling trucks and the folks who drive them. For the red and yellow lights blinking at 4:00am. For the planes, trains, and automobiles that transport us to each other and for the love that always carries us home. For the breeze this morning. For Anne of Green Gables at the Very Merry barn in East Charlotte. For peach-growers. For list-makers. For the ache that is commensurate with the joy. For the neighbor’s pool. For how downright delicious Pearlie looks with her new haircut. For sisters and for cousins. For holding a seventeen-day-old baby boy. For the faith it takes to say no, and the faith it takes to say yes, and the faith it takes to step into a new day, equal parts knowing and not knowing. For letting go of should. For pulling out all the stops. For starting again. For Mexican wrestling on the heels of a good cry. For handfuls of blueberries. For exhaling. For iced maple lattes. For cracking open a book to just the right poem. For getting to ten and going back to one. For things to look forward to and things to remember and for the present moment these pivot around in perfect balance. For jumping from the tight wire of too much and not enough. For soft landings. For pillowcases. For clean drinking water and hot showers. For the willow next door. For a girl’s notebooks filled with song lyrics, imagining a day when she and her sister will no longer fight. For the buoy and the anchor, the rise and the fall, the ebb and flow. For throwing on clothes to greet the two women who showed up late for the party, asking to have me sign a book. For the village. For camp shopping. For salt and for pepper. For asking and really wanting to know. For the friend who whispered in my ear–brave girl–as she said goodnight, and the one who always plants a kiss between my eyes like a blessing. For raising me. For staying. For this life unfolding. For this one and only wild and precious life.

9 thoughts on “Gratitude

  1. gailnhb says:

    Jena, you have a way with words, with lists, with sharing your love of your life, even on the tightrope between too much and not enough, should and want to, knowing and wondering. You bring it all together so richly, so simply, so profoundly.

    And thanks soooooooo much for “She who Stays.” That poem rocked me. And now lives in my journal, with so much of your writing. I’m not the sharpest poetry reader, but I’m trying… because I don’t want to miss this!!!

    Love you, my sister-friend so far away.



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