But I won't go into my bitterness over the further extended winter here - or any of the frustrating random things that have happened lately either - because the topic of my post today is a conglomeration of thoughts and impressions on gratitude and beauty. It has been an intense and busy past couple of weeks. Yesterday I sat down and realized how overwhelmed I have been feeling with everything that's going on (and not going on), and realized that I needed to remind myself to appreciate the little things.
Indeed, here lately, I've actually seen and felt a lot of really, really beautiful things. Much like when I wrote my "Life is So Random" post in Portland, today, in the midst of snow and clouds, I wanted to commemorate the small, random but meaningful things in my life. Yes, I do it so I don't forget them - but I guess I also believe it's good to occasionally, purposefully, remind myself of the truly, very beautiful and privileged life I lead, and of how much there is to be thankful for in my rather small, but personally significant, world.
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Life Moments of Gratitude and Beauty.
1. On Staying.
Matt and I have spent relatively little time in downtown Denver as a couple. One morning while my mom was visiting the weekend of Easter we happened to drive down and walk around, drinking coffee and taking pictures. It was fun to be in a deserted city center and take silly pictures like we used to back in the day. It feels good to stay and explore for once.
2. On Miraculous Life.
We met a newborn baby boy a couple of weeks ago. He reminded me of the wonder, fragility and utterly mysterious nature of life. And of the irrepressible instinct we humans have, in spite of it all, to take care of one another - even strangers - no matter who, what, where, when or why.
3. On Home-grown Traditions.
For Easter this year I baked Greek Easter bread for the second time. It's a random recipe I came across that appealed to me due to my eternal-Hellenic-nostalgia and an odd love of hard-boiled eggs. This attempt came out so much tastier than last year's. It looked so pretty too - like springtime in a loaf of bread. It always feels like you've accomplished something special when you bake a truly memorable loaf of bread, in a salt-of-the-earth-with-neon-eggs kinda way. And I think, however disconnected to us it may be, I'll keep this new Easter tradition.
4. On Random Acts of Love & Rookie Gardening.
A couple of weekends ago, without me asking, Matt built me a raised garden bed, despite the fact that we will have to leave it here and might only get to use it for one season. It made me so happy and looks so nice. I immediately went out to buy herbs and seeds, all of which have now been obliterated by the two feet of snow we've had since then (rookie Denver mistake). But my garden was so beautiful for that one day that it looked absolutely perfect that I just had to share it. And, hey, in a few weeks I'll start over again with new plants - much like nature, I suppose. :)
5. On Unexpected Splendor.
I'd never been to Arizona before this past weekend, but I was absolutely dumbfounded by its beauty. It was true desert - hot, dry, and stark. Here's a picture of an incredible sunset we witnessed the other day. The picture really doesn't even do it full justice.
6. On Stopping to See the Individual Trees.
Upon arriving to Phoenix we rented a car and took a beautiful two-hour drive north of the city to Montezuma's Castle National Monument - a collection of ruins of clay and limestone cliff dwellings built by Arizona's Native Americans several hundred years ago. While the ruins alone were remarkable, in typical fashion, I simply couldn't get past the immensity and beauty of the Arizona Sycamores (my beloved Plane Trees) that grew all around the area. They looked straight out of a painting. Maybe I'll paint them myself one day.
7. On Growing Up.
Roman will be four years old in a matter of weeks. He's growing up. He tells me when his heart breaks. He tells me when he likes my dress. He's so much a person now that I almost can't believe I have the privilege to create and raise him. I'm glad we still get moments like this one, making snow angels together in the mountains, without a care in the world but each other.