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Hiking into a Fearful Gratitude

1. Gratitude …

rolls off the tongues of the well-fed

like a brand new Outback pulling out

of the Steve Lewis Subaru lot in Hadley

Massachusetts elbow out the window

smell of azaleas along Russell Ave you

and Son Volt singing harmony on Apple

Play a good meal ahead an IPA “love yas”

at the end of each call to your kids time time

enough health enough to ride a bike or if

you ever care learn guitar … Namaste, right?

Right. So easy to say when it’s easy to say

2. And yet sometimes Namaste …

gets caught in your throat even as you lumber along

on those Size 11 Merrell boots, no little cat feet for you

hiking to some blue Yellowstone hot spring, a warm

smile that goes along with all the unearned abundance

in your life, beautiful wife, kids, grandkids, mountains,

woods, the long front porch, stream, treehouse until

you see a luna wolf and her pups through a spotting

scope in Lamar Valley and you know instantly how it could

vanish in the sulfurous steam of a million atrocities floating

through the spring air, grizzlies pacing behind the ridge,

an avalanche on the high peaks, collateral damage

from a bet between a jealous god you don’t believe in

and a devil that smirks like a criminal in high office,

makes you wonder what Namaste will sound like

when the unspeakable gets spoken?

—SL, New Paltz, NY, June 2023

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Jeremiah Horrigan
Jeremiah Horrigan
Jun 17, 2023

This beneficiary of unearned abundance loves this one. A sobering reminder that never really leaves me, since I've seen it time & again. The struggle: how to keep remembering and experiencing the daily abundance without getting fixated on its evanescence. All the while recognizing the awful work of those ever-patient pacing grizzlies and their millions of victims.

Jun 17, 2023
Replying to

I've long thought that the Job passage is probably the most instructive story about living with abundance--and the most damning story of the force organized religion--not faith--plays in our lives.

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