Standing in my yard just after sunrise I picked a ripe peach from my tree and ate it right there. The fine and soft part of a morning in summer. Not far off, the sounds of birds.
In a few minutes the sun will set and this day will start to fade, one second at a time, both in terms of light and memory, for I intend to take nothing from the day along with me as I ease into the night, and neither will I leave anything of myself behind; this moment is all that I have, and all that I need, and I give thanks for being alive.
This is an usual era, an era that is outside of custom and tradition, as a virus races around the planet and people are dying by the hundreds of thousands, grief abounds, and life as we knew it is over now, with stores, schools, banks all closed, everything is closed, and we survivors stay in our homes and try to live without going anywhere, and we are masked and gloved, but my family still survives and so I give thanks for being alive.
The exception for staying home is the ongoing uprise against racism, in countries on multiple continents people are marching and calling for an end to the injustices forced upon people color, for centuries they have suffered and white people have either participated in the cruelty or ignored it, turning their faces away, averting their eyes, wearing societal blinders, living with privilege and denial, and now, after centuries this way, change is happening and I give thanks for being alive.
Today I was watering my garden and suddenly a hummingbird, tiny and yet vibrant with color, dropped down from above and hovered in the cool spray of water, just for a couple of seconds, then lifted and fly away, almost instantly invisible to me, and this was a brief flash of beauty and life, and I gave thanks for being alive.
Sheltering at home, my wife and I play card games together, chatting and joking, we share every meal together, and we say grace, light a candle, and enjoy a meal that was prepared slowly and deliberately, with love cooked into it somehow, and so we pass our days together, and still in love after many years, and I give thanks for being alive.
The land I call home is a long, wide river valley between two mountain ranges, and there is a dry season and a rainy season, and in my garden I grow herbs, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, and there are fruit trees, lemon, lime, peach, persimmon, and apple-pear, and we tend it all with grace and love for the planet, and for all of this I give thanks for being alive.
Age is coming to me now, limbs and muscles are slower, my hair and my hearing are fading, I remember less all the time, and I tell myself, “You’ve had a full life, jobe, a good life, with love and family, and you’ve known kindness and joy that helped you live through your sorrows,” and I give thanks for being alive. I do give thanks for being alive.
I am only one but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
-Edward Everett Hale
All that we should do is just do something as it comes. Do something! Whatever it is, we should do it, even if it is not-doing-something. We should live in this moment.
-Shunryu Suzuki Roshi