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A practice in cultivating daily gratitude

| November 28, 2021 12:00 AM

A grateful person is a happy person. Gratitude is the soul’s balm, especially in the worst of times.

As a practice in gratitude ... inspired recently by a sock, I’ve put together some of the little moments for which I’ve been grateful over the years and which I always carry with me:

Finding my fox sock, after only wearing it and its mate once then losing it for 11 months, was a moment of pure delight.

I’d gone on a sock buying spree last Christmas for my family and ordered an especially charming pair with a red fox knitted on the ankle for myself.

I’m particularly fond of foxes and believe, if there’s such a thing as a spirit animal, the red fox is mine. My heart leaps whenever I catch a rare glimpse of a fox, whether a lone one bounding through tall grass, tail flashing, or a family of kits hiding in a country road culvert.

When I found fox socks online, I couldn’t wait for them to find my feet.

The sock disappeared last December after its first washing. I figured it had to be in the house somewhere. It would turn up.

Yet in 11 months’ time, it never did … until my husband found it inside the long sleeve of one of his old shirts (unbeknownst to him that my fox sock was ever missing in the first place). It had slipped in there in the wash and, since he hadn’t worn that shirt again all year, he found it while sorting through clothes to donate.

Holding out hope, I’d kept its mate all this time and they’re finally reunited; those sly fox socks!

Here are a few more of my favorite tiny gratitudes:

• All the other priceless things I’ve found after losing: a gold crucifix from the Vatican my mother had bought for me, which I’d lost on Easter Sunday; the diamond from my engagement ring that had fallen out of its setting, which my husband found in a rug; a silver bicycle charm with operating handlebars and pedals I’d brought back from a biking trip to the San Juan Islands, which I happened to spot a year later in the gravel of my driveway.

• Stumbling upon a Porta Potty in the knick of time tucked in the corner of a golf course in Whitefish. On a day-long bike ride years ago I really had to go, but a sheltered place to “pull off the road” was nowhere to be found.

• The new hygienist at my new dentist who told me on my first visit I had nice teeth.

• Owl sightings. Riding my bike just before dusk, I happened to glance over at a fence post a few yards away and locked eyes with a great horned owl. Pulling into our driveway moments before dark and spotting a great horned owl alight on top the nearest telephone pole. Having binocs handy, we got a close look and could see its trademark feather tufts.

• Being easily amused. During a recent pre-dinner conversation, I carried on exclaiming in a foreign accent of unknown origin about how the “flautas fit quite fine in the pan” — “flautas” sounding like an old weather radio we once had whose voice would slowly say the word “cloudy,” dropping the last syllable as though he was quite sad about it. It always made us laugh … now so does “flautas.”

• My son’s dog, Copper, an adorable Basenji who likes to jump up, nudge me on the rear end with both his paws, then run away so I’ll chase him into the living room where he abruptly comes to a standstill waiting for me to pet him.

• That here it is, Nov. 28, and we’ve had an extraordinary month weather-wise, with more than our fair share of blue skies, sunshine and mild temps. Whatever winter brings, I’ve got a bouquet of bluebird November days to daydream about.

And here’s one that’s not at all small:

• None more so than in the last two years have I been so keenly aware of how fragile life is. My health and that of my family is both a treasure and blessing … there but for the grace of God.

Community editor Carol Marino may be reached at 406-758-4440 or community@dailyinterlake.com.

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