2013 August 175
This is a firebird in a campfire, but it feels like it belongs with the sunset thunderbird story.

Gratitude List:
1. Thunderbird Firebird Sunset: Can we do another sunset here?  It’s just that last night’s sunset was so much like a portent, like a message.  The sky behind was shading to tender aquamarine, the way it gets lighter and brighter before it darkens into night.  The clouds in front, layered lines of tufty fluff, were tinged with magenta on the bottom, with the realest indigo above, and true violet between.  The sky where the sun had just been was the glowing orange of coals.  But the most striking thing about it all was that in the space where the orange was, there was the clearly delineated shape of a thunderbird, like the ones carved by the Susquehannock people in the rocks of the River.  It was rising up out of the earth into the sky, a bird of flame.
2. An empty box: Last night, I picked up an empty cardboard box to take upstairs (we store the strongest ones in the attic).  I noticed that it was the box where I had kept the notes from my first teaching job, at Butler County Community College.  I had brought it down to put my papers in the recycling bin, and they went off in the truck early this morning.  And there’s an odd weight lifted from my shoulders.  Getting rid of my old notes and papers (which I never look at) means that I can now completely trust my own inner resources and my ability to find answers in the present day.  I can believe that what I learned in the past is part of me today, and I don’t have to keep papers as a link to my past to remind myself of what I might have forgotten.
3. I’ve got this: That’s my mantra for the time being.  I realized that although I think of myself as a fairly positive person, I have been continually feeding myself shameful messages about how I never seem to be able to stay organized and on top of things.  At the same time, I would set unrealistic goals about what I might be able to get done in any given amount of time.  In this coming season of my life, I will be setting realistic goals, and I will feed myself the message that I can do it.  Talking to a colleague yesterday, I mentioned that I am trying to keep my messages to myself positive, and without knowing my mantra, she said, “You’ve got this!”  Yes, yes, I believe I do.
4. Shakespeare and teenagers: We’re studying A Midsummer Night’s Dream in English 9 right now.  Yesterday one girl came to me after class and said, “I thought this Shakespeare stuff would be boring because it’s so old and hard to understand, but I really love this story!”  This is why I became a teacher.  Those words are a bright, bright, shiny stone that I will carry around with me for a long time.
5. Why am I at a loss to find the fifth today?  There are so many, many things that I am grateful for, but nothing seems to be quite the one that finishes this list.  Stretching.  That’s it.  Stretching.  Slow, careful, breath-infused stretching.  Yes, and that means more than it means.

May we walk in Beauty!