Loud-mouthed liberal feminist. Anarchist knitter. Tequila-drinking artsy-smartsy fat chick. Bluesy folk-rock singer-songwriter. Rebel with too many causes. Quirky eclectic pagan poet. Paradoxical intuitive smartass. Sarcastic brainiac insomniac. You know, for starters.



Today, I am grateful.

This morning, I walked from my apartment to the train, slowly. I breathed deeply of air blown in fresh from Lake Michigan. The sun, just rising over the trees and buildings, caught in my eyes and brought a few tears even through my sunglasses. My stomach was contentedly full of fruit (strawberries from Texas; soon they'll be local!) and granola (organic! no corn products!) and yogurt (organic! no artifical sweeteners or HFCS!)...because I am lucky enough to have riches enough to buy groceries and eat more than one meal a day. As I walked, I chatted amiably with a friend...because I am blessed with abundant social connections, and can afford technology like a cell phone that makes communicating with them convenient.

I am grateful for a body able to amble along the sidewalk, noticing the green buds on tree branches that herald spring, feeling the wind on my legs, hearing the birds gossip about the squirrels.

I rode the train to my job, which is a precious thing in an economic downturn like we're going through these days. It's also the thing that affords me the ability to live in maybe the nicest apartment I've ever inhabited in my entire life, the luxuries I enjoy daily, the ability to make picky food choices and grow my own food and play music when I like (both on my guitar and on my mp3 player) and support two ridiculously spoiled domesticated animals and check my e-mail on my laptop whenever I like. I would like someday to be grateful for living in a world where my job was growing my own food and making my clothes and buliding my own shelter and filling it with useful objects I built myself instead of ones mass produced by underpaid factory workers a world away from me...but for now, I choose to gratefully acknowledge that I am able to support myself in the wage slavery-based system that now exists....while I build up the resources and skills to change that fact.

As I rode the train downtown, I looked at my fellow riders and realized once more that I live in a city filled with diversity. Someday, I hope to better understand more of the stories of the people I share this beautiful city with, and I hope that the world shifts so those stories will be told with justice and true equality. For now, I am happy that I have access to education and humility, such that seeing the patchwork quilt of diversity around me doesn't leave me fearful or digusted or confused - but awed and open and hopeful.

I am grateful to be aware of my own participation in the systems of oppression that leave so many people without basic rights and needs. I hope to become better able to recognize that, and make more just choices, and make space for other voices to be heard, and use the gifts I have to help others.

As I ate my lunch (chicken teriyaki with rice and veggies), I delighted in the fact that I know how to eat rice with chopsticks - not only that I am blessed with the manual dexterity and the luck to have someone teach me how, but also that the world's cultures have shared so much with each other that someone who's never been to China can know of and try out a custom so far outside my own cultural experience...and may practice it with gratitude and recognition. I flipped over the bottle of schmancy flavored water I was drinking (I'm still working on finding the right alternative to individually bottled drinks...suggestions?), I was greeted with a "1" recycling symbol, and one less plastic bottle went into the trash.

I am grateful for being able to meet my basic needs (in more sustainable ways every day!), for living in a world filled with amazing history and geography and a wealth of new horizons for me to explore respectfully. I am grateful for an open mind and to have been blessed with the skills of learning. I am grateful for the internet's wealth of information, and the means to access it.

I am grateful for the smile I shared with a woman getting on the elevator today - when we were both trying to be more courteous and let the other person go first. I am grateful for the considerate el rider who avoided stomping on my toes when the train lurched a little more roughly than usual. I am grateful for the soil and seeds and water waiting to be planted at home, and the bounty of earth and sunshine and rain that allows me to put less money into the corporate agricultural complex and all of the atrocities it supports. I am grateful to be alive, now, in this perfect moment, and for all the bazillions of things that happen every day - in my sight and beyond it - that enable me to continue living gratefully.

Today, I am grateful. Happy Earth Day!

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