Mind & Spirit

Intrusions of beauty (a ‘gratitude list’ of sorts)



I do not write many ‘gratitude lists’.
I don’t entirely know why.
Maybe it is that I am rebellious by nature, and don’t want to be told what to do or how to feel.
Maybe it is that every list I write is, in some form, a saying thank you.
In the way that, when it comes down to it, it is just life for which I give thanks.
Because wonderful things happen. Borrible things happen. Unexpected gifts arrive. Profound losses sweep through and take away things.

And moment after moment of ordinary, of sublime, of elements colliding, and making another pot of coffee. And I am here, living.

This week it is Thanksgiving. and I don’t have traditional thankful lists.
What I do have, is the unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is life.
All the things, that are just life happening, in that moment in time, and I was lucky enough to be there, witness to its happening. And sometimes, lucky enough to be inside the story being told.

“unexpected intrusions of beauty”

1. Walking outside in the morning, and the sky, filled upon filled with birds. And they are all so dark black, this great rustle of them, flooding and fleeing and flying in some kind of rhythm known only to them, spreading out against sky. And I think, this can’t possibly be real, this many birds in the sky at once. Except, it is, and there are.

2. A honeycomb heart. Keeping watch through the night heart. Rusted metal heart.

3. Bath salts and water so hot, the skin burns bright red, and remembering who your ancestors are.

4. Happening upon bricklayers at work, level after level, wide across and ascending, focused and mesmerising.

5. Devotion.

6. Driving around, to all the locations, for 7eleven slurpees. Flavour after flavour, and how happy I was that day.

7. The red couch I always wanted, and saw in the window, that one night. And didn’t even need it. It was just enough, to know it existed.

8. Robin Hood, in all his incarnations.

9. Walking into a college town coffee shop — all the people there, studying and scheming, talking and writing, falling in love and breaking apart. and all the posters and signs up on the wall. And the humming energy of it, that feeling, how things are beginning and the world feels very big, and you don’t know yet the things you will later love and regret and look back upon wondering why and what and how come. You don’t know yet who you are going to become, and you are so many things at once, and anything is still possible.

10. Remembering blue.

11. Crawling out on the roof, chasing storms.

12. Hecate, whenever she shows up.

13. Words that write themselves on skin.

14. Finding old letters my grandmother wrote, and her china jewellery box, and a rose pink pin.

15. Stilettos and moccasins and green rain boots. Knee socks and stockings and soft slippers. Bare feet, solid against hard wood floor.

16. Real love. No matter what happens next. No matter how it ends. Just that I got to be here for it. Thank you.

17. Happening to be outside, at dusk, at the exact moment the street lamps turn on.

18. Seeing a man on the el, sitting there reading the newspaper, wearing work boots and glasses, a white beard and full face, and that moment when he looks up, and sees me staring and smiles, and it feels like I maybe have just seen santa clause in disguise.

19. Clay and ashes. building for yourself, something you always wanted and will love in completeness. And this being reason enough for anything, for all things.

This article was first published on Lists and Letters and has been republished with permission. 

{Photo: Lists and Letters}

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Isabel Faith Abbott

Isabel Faith Abbott

Isabel Abbott is a writer and activist, embodiment artist and speaker, doula in birth and death and love of life. Her doors are open to sanctuary, raw reality and creative liberation at www.isabelabbott.com, and she writes regularly at www.listsandletters.com.

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