Gratitude for a Day

It's easy to write when something awful grabs my brain-- or something annoying buzzes in my ear and needs expression to be silenced-- but today I am feeling raw and grateful and I want to write it down.

Gratitude is so fragile-- a wet tissue paper feeling-- and I want to feed it, like drops of nectar to a thin-winged moth.

So here is what I'm grateful for today.

This moment: the girls are falling asleep together in my bed. They have twisted the sheets around their feet and around the quilt that Matt's dad recently sent us-- an heirloom from Vietnam-- a deep blue, hand embroidered piece of functional art. They are listening to an Aesop's Fables audiobook on youtube. They are freshly showered, teeth brushed, stories read, and fully dressed in tomorrow's clothes: RJ in a homemade "bra"-- the tattered remains of a tiny satin dressup and black leggings with two meters of fake leopard tail pinned to the back-- and MP in a stylish pineapple and hello kitty ensemble.

It's dark and quiet outside. Just frogs and cricket and stars. Matt has just come home and I could hear his loud music from the car speakers-- and the clank and slither of the chain on the farm gate-- the cats gathered under his feet to trip him up the steps and to complain that the quorum of toads had eaten all of their food again. The toads cycle through quickly-- once they discover the cat food they eat until they bloat up to the size of soup bowls and then die. We find the oversized victims of gluttony sitting motionless and sunburnt in the daytime.

Matt's been at Aikido-- he comes in dehydrated and challenged-- he seems happy to be thrown around for two hours a night four nights a week-- he lovingly bleaches, hangs and refolds his gi into a tight bundle. It dries on the line outside the kitchen window and startles me like a shrugging samurai when I catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye.

Tonight he made chili for dinner-- strongly beefy Kauai meat and beans and whole garlic cloves simmered with tomatoes and poured over rice. I defaced mine with an arterial spray of Sriracha. It was delicious-- a hearty counter to the overcast day and wind.

This morning (no school, Good Friday,) we set out all together. Matt invited us to come along with him to set up the farm fair for tomorrow-- but just as we got to Lihue he found out that the set up was finished. So we crossed the Lihue barrier-- went beyond that invisible line that marks school/work/groceries-- and went out to breakfast at the Kalaheo Cafe, another twenty minutes down the road. The girls got enormous Knuckles-- light doughy knots of cinnamon and icing-- and the grownups shared potatoes and omelette and waffle and hot breakfast beverages. We sat outside and RJ drew celtic knots in her own little sketchbook and I told stories about the constellations-- Perseus and Medusa, Pegasus, Andromeda, Cassiopeia.

We pushed on-- further West-- out through Kalaheo and off makai to Numila, where Matt's great-Uncle worked as the fire luna on the sugar plantations, and where a few dusty plantation houses are still leaning on their stilts. We stopped at Kauai Coffee and strolled along the little self-guided tour path. MP noticed coffee cup stamps in the sidewalk and jumped from one to the next. She attracted the attention of a well dressed little tourist girl. MP said, "Everybody WUN!" and bolted down the path with the tiny tourist hot on her tail. MP ran the whole circuit with Tiny Tourist, Tourist Mama, me, RJ, and Matt in pursuit. It started to rain-- not a cloud anywhere in sight--just clear blue sky. Rain and sunshine. Matt and I said, "the devil's beatin' his wife!" and elbowed each other.

We sat down on a picnic bench in the shade and ran relays across the lawn. The girls ran and did cartwheels and then the grownups copied them. I tried handstands and flopped around, and an old lady asked me, "is that YOUR husband? Woowee, handsome!"

The girls ate ice cream in the shade and we got all itchy lying in the grass and at last we packed up and drove home and listened to Phish really loud and I found an apple in my purse for RJ and MP fell asleep--

It was ordinary, but lovely. A day to be grateful for.


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