10 Days of Gratitude, Day 2

I’ll preface today’s thanks with another quotation of Annie Dillard, also from her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; in the book, she describes her childhood practice of hiding a penny somewhere outside and then creating a trail, written in sidewalk chalk, which would lead someone to the treasure. To her, a penny was worth seeking; as adults, we’re not so sure:

“There are lots of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But–and this is the point–who gets excited by a mere penny? . . . It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won’t stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days.” 

Challenge for today: pick up all the pennies you see, literal or in the small moments, the fleeting glimpses, the flecks of miracles all around us. Here are some of my pennies:

1. balsam pine scented candles flickering around the house on a winter evening

2. a panful of brownies, barely cool enough to cut and gooey on your knife

3. Red Chief or Goldenrod tablets

4. days when running five miles is not enough–my body has the power and strength, it seems, to go on forever

5. rutted deer paths in the woods with fresh imprints in the mud

6. fiery red, waxy tulips bordering my house

7. little girls giggling and shrieking

8. clear, dark nights with handfuls of stars tossed across the sky

9. Wallace and Grommit

10. walking on a deserted beach in bitter weather, struggling against gale force winds, rewarded by an indescribably beautiful sunset that connects heaven with earth

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