gratitude

Gratitude is good for us. Brain research shows that simply being grateful releases neurotransmitters that act like dopamine in our brains, making us feel good, and boosting our overall health.

Mother's Day reminds me to appreciate mothers, those of the heart as well as those who bear us. Thank you to all who nurture and support life, whether human or any of the other life forms who take part in the community of this breathing, animate planet. Your love is a gift.  

(That's my mom, Joan Cannon Tweit, in the photo above, on her last wilderness camping trip. She was 78 years old when we hiked to a yurt in Colorado's Never Summer Range to celebrate Dad's 80th birthday.)

I had a lovely Mother's Day, and I hope you did too. Mine was quiet and mellow, just the way I like it: I spent time with friends, caught up with my family, and then worked in my yard, planting new plants, grubbing out invasive weeds, and seeding in the beginning of a native meadow in the backyard that last week was torn up for my new underground electric line. 

After I finished playing with plants--something that never fails to make me happy--I headed out for my usual Sunday evening run.


I first heard about the Indivisible movement from my 88-year-old dad in January, not long after I moved to Wyoming. In our weekly call--he lives just 15 minutes from my brother and sister-in-law, but I still check in almost every weekend, since Dad lives alone and is legally blind--I asked what was up in his world. 


Every year around Winter Solstice, I remind myself of the word I've chosen for the year, consider what it meant and how it was expressed in the way I lived my days, and then ask myself what next year's word will be. Sometimes I hear the answer right away; other times it takes a while. 

One of my rituals between Winter Solstice and New Year's Day is to "listen" for the word that will serve as my intention for the coming year. I don't consciously think of a word; I tune in to my inner voice for what word presents itself. This year's word, "abundance," came to me as I was journaling one December morning.  


Back in the days when I tended an enormous edible garden in raised beds just outside the kitchen door of my former house, I began a practice of saying thanks to the plants as I harvested them. 


"Thank you, squash plants," I would say, "for producing these shiny green Romanesco squash with the creamy flesh." And then I'd add, "Thank you, squash bees, for pollinating the flowers so the plant can produce the fruits we eat." 



Yesterday afternoon as I drove the four-and-a-half hours home from Santa Fe and the Hillerman Writing Conference, I said to myself, "It's Sunday. You need to write a blog post."



On Wednesday morning, I woke at Jackson Lake Lodge in Northwest Wyoming to gray and gloomy light. The temperature outside was 39 degreesF and the patter of rain on the roof included an odd shushing sound. I looked outside and saw that the rain was mixed with wet flakes--snow.