“All day I try to say nothing but thank you,
breathe the syllables in and out with every step I
take” – Jeanne Lohmann, "To Say Nothing But Thank You," Shaking the Tree
Joy flooded me the first time I read these words. They resonated within my soul. I have tried to live them even when tragedy strikes and the future appears uncertain and even frightening. “Thank you” for the beauty that surrounds us, the wonders of the natural world, the good and compassionate people that surround us, life and death and everything in between. To say “thank you” is to pray. It is hope and belief, courage and healing.
Life picked up speed soon after I last wrote and the dust billowed up clouding my sight. Serious health issues and the sale of both our homes--one in Florida and the other our dream home on Lake Superior-- exhausted us as we said goodbye to old friends and raced to sort, sell, or give away the too much stuff we’d accumulated throughout the years, especially the thousands of books we’d collected. The state of our nation and conditions throughout the world overwhelmed me I found it impossible to think creatively or communicate with others in a meaningful way. Hence my lengthy silence.
The surgeon told me it could take up to a year to recuperate from heart surgery and I found this true for me. Gradually, light returned to my spirit, and I finally feel myself again. Contrary to my expectations -- how does one leave paradise? -- I discovered I liked our new home. A well-run and lively apartment complex, a spacious and bright apartment, a welcoming group of seniors, nearby parks, shops, and all the cultural and social amenities the Twin Cities offer, not least of which is easy access to nearby medical care. The latter is one of the primary reasons we moved. During the nineteen years we lived on Lake Superior’s north shore we aged without worry until the day we discovered we were old.
Lifting my spirits were three weeks in Provence and Paris. Sharing one week of that time with my writing group put wind into my sails and now we are settled in our new place I feel the urge to return to writing. The first attempt is this newsletter reconnecting with dear friends like you. I wonder how you are faring. I pray you are safe and in good health, that you find strength in times of adversity and rejoice in times of abundance. Thank you for your support and belief in me.
“Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute, and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I remember who I am, a woman learning to praise something as small as dandelion petals floating on the steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup, my happy savoring tongue.” Thus ends Lohmann’s poem. I find it delightful. I hope you do, too.
Beryl is the author of The Scent of God and A View of the Lake. www.berylsingletonbissell.com
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