So I woke early this morning with my mind roaring and decided to get outside.
In the summer, my hikes are quiet except for my head and the hushed sound of footfall on the well worn trail, the rhythm of my breathing, and whatever birds might be singing. Today, each step was a loud crunch and squeak of ice and snow, my breath was really loud since it takes a more effort to push up-hill on a snowy trail, even on a path made by other feet and snowshoes, since each push up is also a push back.
In spite of the effort, and the noise, my head would simply NOT shut up, so I played a trick on it as I sometimes do: I transformed my hike into a gratitude walk.
thank you feet for being flexible and strong, for keeping me grounded and balanced. for letting me keep still or move as I wish
thank you ankles for being willing to flex and rotate, as I step here on firm ground, here on the edge of a stone, here through a crust of snow
thank you knees for bending and for straightening, for being strong enough to allow me missteps without too much complaining
thank you thighs for letting me move up hill and down
and glutes for pushing me forward, letting me bend, holding me straight
thank you belly for holding my organs so gently, for holding me tall, for holding me in
thank you also for your wisdom even if I seem to ignore it
thank you stomach for taking nourishment, and letting me know when I am hungry and letting me know when I am full
thank you bowels for your crazy intermittent waste management, even if you do make a ruckus like striking sanitation workers, you overachieve and underachieve and grumble nearly always about the thanklessness of your job. yes, in spite of our tumultuous relationship I am thanking you too.
thank you uterus for rising to the occasion, for being willing to make a safe landing place for possibility
thank you ovaries for trying not to act your age, and giving it your all
thank you liver for filtering and pancreas for secreting and lungs for taking in air and expelling what I do not need
thank you heart, oh, thank you heart, for doing what you do so well, the pump that fuels my inner tributaries, but also for being brave in spite of all that you know
thank you spine for holding me upright, for safeguarding my core network of nerves, for being able to flex and hold strong
thank you shoulders for letting me reach farther than I might
and elbows for your knobby miracle of twist and bend, and thank you hands and fingers for letting me feel, letting me touch, grasp, and perhaps most importantly, to let go
thank you neck for holding my head on, for your wonderful, wise limitation of not being able to swivel all the way around or surely I would spend my days looking backwards while I try to move forwards
thank you eyes and ears for letting me experience beauty and truth
and thank you mouth for tasting and kissing and for letting me communicate what I feel, what I think, what I need
thank you brain, both ancient and innocent, both wise and childlike, for letting me feel wonder and hope
and for trying so hard to keep me safe by letting me know all that can go wrong, letting me know all the possible sources of danger, reminding me of all the bad things that have happened, and everything that could. thank you for trying to keep me from being disappointed by letting me know every possible place of disappointment.
thank you for remembering and thank you also for sometimes forgetting
and also thank you for letting me stop dead on the trail to listen to the sound of dried leaves rustling on the one small beech tree, or to touch the rough lichen that clings to the bark of a birch, or the smooth dark ice that coats the branches that arc over the trail from the recent storms, or to simply breathe in, and out, and in, and out, and for a moment, simply be before heading down the trail toward home