When the sun sets with a crescendo of color so magnificent it takes the breath away, trying to capture it leads to multiple photos. Or when it rises in splendid spirals of pink, orange, fuchsia, and golden light. Brightening the dark mauve sky at dawn by degrees is God’s way of increasing the light. My first act after a moment or two of awe is to reach for my phone to memorialize the sight. Looking back through my photos for the last year and a half since I moved to Charlottesville, the view here is stunning. This place is surely full of magic. Day after day the sky is a constant movable feast of color and interesting cloud formations. Watching a distant front approach overwhelming the sky as it approaches thrills me. Rainbows often appear at the end of an early evening storm. Magic once again.

Even without the constant changes in foliage and flowers, the sky is my garden, consistently evolving; color and design, light and shadow. At night the stars entice me to watch their slow progress overhead. Now we have added satellites to the firmament. Nighttime can be exciting. And then according to its cycle, the moon makes its presence known. From my terrace, the full moon appeared impossibly large, as it rose last Sunday. (12/ 19/ 2021.) As the glistening, creamy globe slid up the sides of the charcoal gray sky it shrank somewhat, still magical. But the first few minutes were miraculous.

Most of my family is near me. They almost all live here in Virginia. Those that do not, stay with me when they are in town. What a fortunate mother I am. It is interesting being the mother of 5 adult children who can no longer be called “young” parents. My offspring are middle-aged though they look so young to those who don’t know their actual ages. They have had decades to grow more and more like “themselves”. Each family has its own characteristics and “way of going”. There are 17 grandchildren with their own ideas and dreams for the future. They are all free thinkers and definitely ready to defend their views against others. It is a little bit like herding cats to keep the peace when their differing ideas clash. Yet they are loving towards one another most of the time.
Even the grandchildren who are definitely modern, seem to understand that in our family, feuds only apply to others outside the family. We have each other’s backs. Even when feelings get hurt or misunderstandings occur they know my love for them is unconditional. And the siblings care about each other and know they are in a family that will back them up.

Sometimes the feeling of fullness, and gratitude is so strong it hurts. Grateful feelings hug me around the middle and it is difficult to breathe. When it washes over me in this way, all that can be done is to stand fast. Gratitude and thankfulness come at me, like big waves rushing upon me while standing in shallow water. WHOOSHHH!!!! It takes me bodily out of myself and out of any worry or impatience. When looking back at the girl I was, it is apparent that all my dreams have come true. And even more than I could have dreamed…

My prayer is that we can go on in this way, making our lives richer and more fulfilling in every way. But sometimes I am struck by the contrast between what I know versus the things people tell me they hear on the news. While I am basking in peace and happiness and family solidarity the President tells people we are in for a dark winter of illness and death. I would like to say “What is he smoking?”
But unfortunately, some of it is real. His attitude is not his alone. There are many out there that choose this dark view and the fear that goes with it. What a terrible message. I could argue it point by point but I will refrain. It is Christmas week. Why should I let him and his toxic ideas and advice take up space in my head? The trouble is we are not allowed to discuss it. We are not allowed to discuss a large number of things. We cannot talk about early treatment of the virus. If the words Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine are used some people “shut down”. We cannot discuss the fact that vaccinated people shed the spike protein endangering others. We cannot speak about the fact that the original virus was not nearly as “fatal” as they tried to make it sound. Most people got over it without any hospital stay. Only a few people who died were under 75. Most people were over 85 and had 2 to 4 comorbidities. In other words, they were already dying. This is considered impolite to mention.

I read a wonderful quote recently:

“Ideas that cannot be challenged, that cannot bear even the slightest scrutiny, are ideas that can’t evolve. It doesn’t matter whether they are right or wrong.”

This is what worries me about the refusal to have a dialogue. There seem to be a lot of stuck ideas. They have no place to grow. There is no natural give and take, no one ever says “Well tell me your thoughts on how to proceed “ Or “What is the greater evil? Do you believe people must be protected? Or are the methods used to protect them causing more harm?”

It is the season for gratitude and brotherly love and Peace on Earth. We need to keep this in the front of our minds during the blitz of bad news and scare tactics employed by the news and media of all sorts.

There are so many things to make us grateful and satisfied. Sitting by a fire is a comfortable way to begin to imagine all of my wonderful blessings. Do you ever think how lucky we are to have constant electricity, heat and cooling, and my favorite of all; running water?

Does anyone but me find it simply marvelous to be able to turn on a tap and get water, both hot and cold at will? Such a miracle! It gives me pleasure daily to use the spigot to fill a pot or water my orchids, or give water to my dogs. Nothing tastes better than the clear, pristine water that comes from my well and is pumped into my house. No city water for me. That is a whole different issue. But it is still a joy to turn on a tap even in the city. Though it is not such a pleasure to drink fluoridated, chlorinated water which is no longer pure. (And what comes from city taps doesn’t taste very good, either.) Yet, I am still grateful. It is so convenient and easy and readily available.

We live in the best country in the world. In spite of the media and the educators trying to shame us about our successes and fault us for things people did 200 years ago, this is mostly just sour grapes. These same people benefit from the very things they complain about but they are ungrateful. I hear them in the same way I might hear pigs grunting while they slobber up their dinner, it is just background noise. All the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands misses the beauty at hand. LOOK around you. Can you see the sky? Can you feel the air on your skin? Do you have family, or friends, or pets? Are you alive and able to read this? Lucky YOU!!!

Let’s all focus on that!!!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Copyright©. 2021 Bonnie B. Matheson

One thought on “Gratitude!!!

  1. Bonnie, I too love photography and clouds, and I enjoyed the positive stuff, but not the negative stuff. In the spirit of Christmas, I wish you would have saved the negative stuff for a different piece focused on your political views.

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