First would be Mary,
I suppose. She who has made it possible for me to get back to writing in these last years. She who has inspired me time and again. She who reads my work and raises questions and makes it better.
Second are our two lovely daughters. They who are so much more than we ever pushed them to become. Strong and loving and bright women, both of them. They are the shine on my joy.
"It is a fearful thing to love that which death can touch." Yes. Yet it is better to love; it is always better to love.
I suppose my upbringing is a blessing. I am who I am because of that farm a mile south of Curlew and a quarter mile west. I look at the world as one who has stood in the field, who has butchered chickens for food. Some might think such a childhood is a disadvantage, but they do not know. Such parents and siblings as I had, such extended family, are tremendous blessings.
That I can put two words together and two sentences together and two paragraphs together - that is a blessing. Happily, I am more concerned about being the best writer I can be, doing the best job of recording the world about me, and I am less concerned about being famous or making money.
Not being interested in making money is a blessing. It is so seldom that I am jealous of what someone else has. I am already rich with the things in my life, so how could I want for more? Being able to say with truthfulness that there is nothing anyone has that I want is indeed a blessing. The jealous man is never happy, and he will never find what he wants either.
This house is a blessing, this big old tumbledown house. It is a home around me, and it feels like home. I have sunk into the soil here, and won't be moved.
I am blessed with friends. They are like chosen family. One does not want to say too much, for fear of spooking joy.
I have books. I have all the books a fellow needs. Although I'm sure I'll find another sometime soon that I'll have to order. And I am blessed in being able to order books when I want to. How poor I would be if I could not have the books I want.
Oh, there are more blessings, I'm sure. This must be like the iceberg, nine-tenths of the blessings invisible to me, below the water-line. Yet such a list as this is a good start at reminding myself that I am a most fortunate man.
Yet I cannot conclude this list of my blessings without including on it my great sadness, the black dog I live with. I would not take such joy in the world as I do without my sadness, which compels me to watch for the little beauties around us. Were I not immensely sad much of the time, perhaps I would be like those who walk the path and miss the flowers and the buds and the way the light plays on the water and the way shadow brings light into great relief. There is no way to know immense joy without knowing sorrow, no way of being lifted up without having been cast down. So sadness must be a blessing, and every day I should embrace it.