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Location: California

I love paper. Books printed on acid-free paper and bound in cloth turn me on. I'm crazy about bookmarks, and I buy too many stickers. I could spend hours in the build-your-own-greeting card section of my neighborhood craft store. My favorite thing to eat is bread, and my second favorite is fruit. (Mm, pineapple.) I read too much and too fast, and I watch too many food shows (two ways of looking at gluttony). Gloomy, rainy weather calms me and so I can't wait to move out of California, which will happen, sadly, too many years from now to count. I'm vegan, though I haven't managed to eliminate honey from my diet yet. I practice yoga; it's the only way I can keep fit. I have a better life than I ever imagined I would (or deserve to) have, but I do my best to enjoy it rather than feel guilty about it. That's my daily struggle -- and also to be thoughtful and observant and honest with myself.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Grateful Friday

A glass of water. Rain and the gleaming puddles it leaves behind. Lakes and oceans and rivers. The invisible vital particles of moisture in the air. The sweat my skin breathes out every moment. The vast sheets of water deep under the ground, cold and dark, out of which trees drink. Every day, every moment they surround me and I take them for granted. I don't pay attention to the simple beauty and the immense luxury of water. I don't think about the thirst of my body except for the seconds required to satisfy it, and don't value enough the feeling of well-being that comes with satisfying it.

So, today, I'm thankful for water -- for the practical magic of evaporation and condensation that forms clouds in the sky and squeezes them onto the earth; for living in a place where water is not scarce (not yet); for having a faucet out of which water pours day after day without my having to work for it; for the fact that the water is safe to drink; for the filters that make it taste good (talk about luxury); for the primordial waters above which a spirit, the story tells, hovered long long ago, and from which all of life has come. Depending on your definition of "spirit" and "long, long ago" this can be a literal as well as a metaphorical truth.

There's that cliche but irresistible question, what animal would you like to be if you could be any animal(ah, reincarnation and its surprising temptations!); my answer is, a whale. It's because of the water, being able to swim in it, feed from it, feel enveloped by it, no matter how big you are, as if by a hand. It's because of the way light travels through it. It's because of how deep silence there can be.


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