{FF} Gratitude

Personal photo taken while hiking in Upstate New York
We Clevelanders know the instant it's begun.  It's the morning you grab a jacket because it's just a little too cold without one, or the moment you cave to the reality it isn't going to warm up enough again to not need it so you turn the heat in the house on.  Autumn is definitely upon us.

I would be lying if I said I didn't love all of the seasons here in Cleveland {yes, even the grayest, snowiest, most blustery of winters are loved}, but fall always sticks out as one of progression, momentum, and most of all, gratitude.  Maybe you're grateful for all that you've accomplished thus far this year.  Maybe you're grateful that a tumultuous year is almost over, or that Christmas is coming, or you're adding a new member to the family, or you're finding comfort in the love and giving thanks for the legacy a family member recently left behind.  Fall is indeed a time of transition and in all its triumphant displays of color, it reminds us how important gratitude is to carry in our hearts everyday.  It seems the season lends itself quite naturally to cozying up with loved ones on chilly days to share a meal, a story, a laugh, a new adventure.

When I think of what makes me feel most grateful, there are the big ones; my husband, my family, my Robie, my friends, my health.  Then there are the ones I've worked especially hard to achieve and maintain like a career that fills me up with joy and contentment and artistic expression, or pushing a small business to grow and survive, or keeping myself in shape.  And there are the intangibles, the way warm fall sun feels on my face while I'm driving in my car, the long line that goes unexpectedly fast, flowers in the garden that continue to bloom though they should've been gone months ago, walking in the door with the last bag of groceries just before it starts to rain, the way that rain sounds hitting the windows of my house, the fact that I have a house.

I find expressing sincere gratitude for a gift, an act, or a presence in my life never gets old.  And it certainly feels fantastic when someone expresses their gratitude to me.  Whatever.  It all just feels wonderful and warm and lovely.

And tonight, in this season of gratitude, I just feel thankful for all of it.    

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