I woke up this morning to a rose-gold dawn; everything was bathed in that beautiful light. It had rained the night before, and that pink light filled every raindrop. In our office where I write my posts, there are two windows to my right. Across the street there is a stretch of grass sheltered by tall spruces where the cardinals like to roost. In between them are maples dressed in gold and red leaves. I never get tired of looking at that peaceful view.
Each one of our five cats has claimed their morning space after enjoying their breakfasts. Tinker, the big yellow tiger cat, is already stretched across the window sill purring and snoring loudly.
The Crankee Yankee, always up before me, has poured me a cup of strong black coffee. The ceramic pen holder, shaped like a cat, is on my left. It belonged to my mother, and she always kept her pens and pencils in it, as I do now.
On the kitchen counter, there are two large bowls filled with the little green cherry tomatoes we picked yesterday; the last of the tomatoes this year. This week they will be transformed into green tomato relish (surprisingly good on hot dogs), and curried tomato soup.
Our neighbor’s black and white cat, Marley, has stopped by our deck to have some of the kibble and water we leave out for our four-footed guests. Bailey, cat number five, has already given him the stink eye from the desk window. Marley couldn’t care less.
This week we will be pulling up the worn-out tomato vines, and unearth the rest of the leeks, cutting back the peonies and then covering the gardens in a blanket of straw for the winter. All summer long, and even into the fall, we have enjoyed our bounty of produce: garlic, onions, beets, bell peppers, tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli, radishes and herbs: sage, oregano, parsley and chives.
The garden is populated with the Crankee Yankee’s beloved pink plastic flamingos, our old garden gnome, “Uncle Winklebaum,” and the guardian of the *memorial lilac bush, “Scrumpy,” the fat little cement cat. This year we added all of my parents’ “garden-age:” the beautiful and enigmatic **Quan Yin statue, the cement sundial, and all the pretty scrolled black and white ironwork chairs and fences.
I get to see all this beauty every day. I wake up early enough to appreciate the sunrises, and in the evening, the unique scroll of the sunsets, the rising of the moon, and the few shy stars that appear before nightfall. Early in the mornings, one bird will sound to mark the start of a new day, and the rest follow in song.
I get to walk around in this still-strong body, see with both eyes, hear with both ears. I can still walk, dance, sing, write, read, laugh, cry, and appreciate all those I love and care for. Although I have lost most of my family, I know that they are still near me. I am lucky enough to have both old and new friends, and my companion of over 15 years, the Crankee Yankee.
I am filled with gratitude each day. Every morning I think of what my favorite uncle (still living at age 92!) used to say to his staff when he walked into work each day, a big smile of his face: “This is the day the Lord hath made! Rejoice and be glad in it!”
Oh, I do, Unkie: I do.
*A dear friend sent us this lilac bush as a living memorial to my parents. I treasure it.
**Goddess of mercy and compassion.