Living amidst the treetops in my second story condo has its advantages. It’s a workout every time I climb the stairs to my unit, especially if I am carrying something. It’s fairly private, so I can leave the windows uncovered for part of the evening. And, in the fall I have a great view of the red maple tree in my neighbor’s yard.
When I was growing up, my nature-loving mom taught us to collect leaves in the fall and just spend time looking at them. Instead of screen time, we had “leaf time;” a leaf meditation, of sorts.
Then there were the art projects made with the leaves. Leaf tracings with crayons and construction paper (thank you Sister Mary Laurentia), placemats with leaves pressed between two sheets of clear contact paper, and others. I even made a rain cape out of leaves, clear contact paper and yarn for my fashion design class in high school. Yes, I still have it. (Thank you, Mom.)
Then, somewhere along the way, I forgot about the best parts of fall. Winter wasn’t far behind. The “stuff of life” crept in along with worries and a preoccupation with the never ending “what I need to do today” lists. I became a bit of a complainer.
One day, my 15-year-old said to me, “Mom, I am tired of your complaints. From now on, every time you complain, you have to put a dollar in a jar.” Our family’s complaint jar was birthed. Too bad I hadn’t remembered what she had said to me at age seven: “Mom, I am always listening and learning from you.”
We used the $76 collected (I’m not telling you how long it took to collect that much) on our trip to Glacier National Park in Canada. It bought us high tea at the Prince of Wales hotel.
The concept and practice of gratitude is not new. Research says that simply keeping a gratitude journal can boost well-being and life satisfaction.
Count me in! Here’s my list: the colors of fall, the sound of leaves crunching under my feet, apple pie, ginger cookies made with Crisco instead of butter, Twinkle the wonder cat, hair dye and a good beautician, my daughters Elizabeth and Catherine, my family doctor, blueberry tea from Maine, my job, sewing machines, my stash of fabric and thread, my friend Emily and her three young children, and that my daughter Catherine will be home for Thanksgiving.
There are more things I am grateful for, but it’s a start. And I think I’d really like to read your lists. There’s still time to “Gather ye Rosebuds…” or in this case, gather the leaves. After all, it is fall and I love the fall!
Marilyn (Mayr) Boros, RDN, LD lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.