Thanksgiving is just past, and tomorrow is my birthday. Seems like a good moment to survey a few random blessings, large and small:
In (almost) 55 years on the planet, I've never known a single day of genuine want — never spent a night sleeping on the street or been denied anything I really needed because I couldn't pay for it. This alone strikes me as a miracle of good fortune.
After a long history of holiday gatherings marred by political disagreements, this year the Browning kids, conservative and liberal alike, were united in our complete disdain for the president-elect. I love my brothers. (Thanks, little Donnie — you racist, woman-hating, egomaniacal con artist — for bringing my family together. At least you're good for something.)
I own a totally awesome dog because some stupid people threw him away. Luck can sneak up on you when you least expect it.
I had to say goodbye to two beloved dogs, Nio and Porter, in the past year, but thanks to a good vet and the money to pay for his services, I was able to give both of them long lives and easy deaths. Can't ask for more than that.
I have an amazing collection of lively, kind, talented, thoughtful friends. Sometimes I can hardly believe the array of lovely people I'm lucky enough to have in my life.
I own more books than I will ever read and more perfume than I will ever wear. Somehow this never ceases to thrill me.
I have my share of gripes and disappointments, but fundamentally I love my life. Just as it is, I love it. I'm at peace with the past and welcome whatever comes. Today is sufficient.
I have sailed the River of Yellow Flowers,
Borne by the channel of a green stream,
Rounding ten thousand turns through the mountains
On a journey of less than thirty miles....
Rapids hum over heaped rocks;
But where light grows dim in the thick pines,
The surface of an inlet sways with nut-horns
And weeds are lush along the banks.
...Down in my heart I have always been as pure
As this limpid water is....
Oh, to remain on a broad flat rock
And to cast a fishing-line forever!
~ "A Green Stream" by Wang Wei
translated by Witter Bynner
A Player with a Hermit, Moritz von Schwind, c.1846