When I was a little kid, I learned “grace” to say at the dinner table. My brother got the “For all we eat, for all we wear…” one and I got the thankfulness one.

Thank you for the world so sweet,
Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you God for everything.

Thinking about it this morning for the first time since I was 8 or so, I realize nothing has changed for me and this sums it up. As for “God,” I don’t have a better word for the wonder that is the universe or the kindness that brought me here after the OTHER immense kindness of allowing me to exist? To live in this beautiful place? To have the amazing life I have? Blows me away.

Yesterday Bear and I took off for a long ramble. I’m still amazed at what a difference SHOES make in my life.

It was cold and lovely out there, no wind, no people, basically NOTHING. A couple of cars went by, a Subaru (of course) and a bright green Jeep Cherokee driven by a tiny old lady who waved at us like we were Santa Claus. The Jeep sported a wheelchair license plate and I was thankful for that drive loop with the pull outs that makes it possible for her to see quite a lot.

The Refuge has done a LOT to make things accessible to almost everyone. Of course, MOST of the Refuge isn’t accessible to anyone, but this one small part? It’s great. People can see things without bothering anyone (meaning wildlife). Bear’s favorite little loop has helped so many people rehab from joint surgery. Sometimes I see them out there, often a elderly parent with a walker accompanied by their kid or friend, slowly making their way at least part way around that little loop. There are some spots in that loop that need repair, but most of it is accessible to a walker or kid’s stroller. Not many people, but a few.

Snow squalls were playing around over the San Juan Mountains, but the big event was the snow remaining within Bear’s reach. Lots of tracks, lots of smells, and opportunities to roll in the snow. Bear was happy. I wasn’t exactly happy, having had something to think about — when that happens to me, it’s like having a splinter in my mind. I have to work it out. I did, I think, and comments from you helped me see more sides of the situation. I thank you so much for that. No one in the range of my voice would have been able to relate to that situation, and, well, I’m a writer not a talker anyway…

Last week we got about 3 inches of snow. Not a lot. It has stayed very cold, so the snow hasn’t melted except in the spots where the sun hits it. North and south here in winter are very distinct even on a flat, totally exposed, cultivated field. Un-touched landscape has ways of keeping all the moisture it can. This was obvious out there yesterday. Bear still had snow up to her, uh, ankles? on the north side of the low ditches beside the road. A friends who lives in a snowier place asked if our snow was already gone, so I took a couple of photos to show her what this high desert wetlands does to keep the snow as long as possible, protecting it from the wind and the sun.

The bushes that fill the landscape form a snow-keeping conspiracy, shading the white treasure from the intense, high-altitude sun. The snow in the cattails isn’t going anywhere, either, unless it gets a lot warmer than it’s likely to get until April. Some of the patches of snow in the second photo are on top of small, frozen. ponds. The only way it’s going anywhere is through evaporation unless it warms up a LOT.

In my Facebook memories this morning I found photos of the Refuge that I took 8 years ago when I had lived here only a few months. I don’t know why I happened to go out there; it wasn’t my thing back then. It took COVID to show me the treasure within my reach. One thing I notice in this photo is that iPhones have WAY better cameras now!

Featured photo: Bear found a perfect patch of snow in front of a sign telling people about the birds that nest on the ground. She laid down in it, took a couple of snowballs out of her front foot, and looked up at me for all the world like she was saying, “Thank you, Martha. Wasn’t this fun?” Then she got up and walked to the car which was parked about 8 feet away.

14 thoughts on “Thankful

  1. The photo looks like a painting. I think it would make a beautiful painting–all that glorious blue.
    Bear–I am so happy you had a good time. The photo of you laying in the snow made me smile.

    • It does look like a painting. I want to do a painting of the refuge in November. It’s one of the most beautiful months, I think.

      “Thank you Mrs. Lois. The snow is great, but Martha says it’s not your favorite. How can that be?” Your pal, Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog

      • Oh, Bear–I grew up with so much snow in New Jersey, but I was so much younger then. Having lived in Florida for such a long time, I’ve gotten way to used to warmer weather. Humans are a weird bunch, aren’t we? Love, Lois

        • Hi Mrs. Lois — My best friend is a human. Sometimes she’s weird (like now she’s just sitting at a table with her hands on top — what’s she doing?) and sometimes she’s normal like yesterday, not that I know what yesterday is. We dogs and cats just have to deal with it because humans are great hunters and share their kill with us twice a day. Thankfully I have Teddy. Your pal, Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog

  2. I love this post — thank you for sharing the life cycle of the snow tucked in among the reeds, and on top of the frozen ponds! And I love that Bear loves it so much (although I had a problem seeing Bear’s face in the 2nd small photo, which looks more like a rag doll covered with a parka hoodie than a live animal). My thanks will be for the cooler temps (it’s dropped from 90’s to 60’s, with several days of rain last week), and for regaining my health.

    • Bear was passionately involved in whatever scent the snow held. In the first of the two, she’s found a scent, in the second she found another scent, and this one was worth rolling in. She wasn’t looking at me because I was irrelevant 😀 Cooler temps and health are two things I am also deeply grateful for.

  3. Often I think I am unique. But when I read your words about the the wonder of the universe and the kindness involved in allowing me to exist, I realized I am going through another phase of life with many others!

    • Yep — it’s nice to have the community. I don’t for sure, but I think the uniqueness comes in the particular elements of how we each go through this phase of life and what our individual challenges are.

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