It snowed like the dickens, yesterday, about 12 inches worth. Thank goodness, most of it light, with only the bottom two inches heavy with moisture. You see I (mostly) shovel by hand. I’ve never bothered to buy a mechanized snow blower – partly not to consume more fossil fuel than required, partly so I can shovel for exercise, partly ‘cos I’m cheap. Whatever. I faced the expanse of snow that is my driveway, about 130 ft in length.
In that great white expanse, I heard chickadees singing, saw a solitary crow black on white. Liminal light promising a lovely sunny day. I was full with gratitude to live in a place that is so beautiful, even (especially?) in the snow. To have the health to be able shovel. To see and hear the light and birds. To have enough warm clothes covering me that it’s pleasant to be outside. I realized none of this “should” be mine, I’m not “entitled” to it; it is a gift for no reason, and with each lift of the shovel, my gratitude unfolds.
I am grateful that I live in a place that is peaceful. My soundtrack is birds, and trucks, not jets and drones, nor explosions and screams of frightened people. That gratitude makes me want to work towards a world where everyone has what I have.
I have a comfortable, warm and dry, home that I can afford, that I could stay inside during the 24 hours of snow. That gratitude reminds me that I live in a province where many do not have this; this inspires me to work until other people have the same as I.
I am grateful that didn’t have to venture out to buy food or clean water because I have more than enough in my house. That gratitude compels me to work until this is same for other people.
I did not have to get to a particular place to work, or stay the night in another place so that I could get to work, nor ‘pull a double’ because staff couldn’t get there. It brings me to a new, deeper level of respect for those who do, because missed hours means missed pay. That I have income without this pressure makes me more than grateful. It makes me want to work towards a system of employment so others aren’t put in under that kind of pressure.
I am grateful that I didn’t have to worry about my livelihood getting buried under snow, or having frozen ears and tails, or not having access to open water. That gratitude leads me to be more mindful of where my food comes from, how it is produced, and to reconsider how much of that my dollars cover (or don’t cover) those costs.
I grateful that I am able to live here at all, here in Treaty 2 territory. It was home for others for thousands of years; I only get to live here because they agreed to share this land with the newcomers and entered into nation-to-nation treaties of peace. I have an obligation to respect that, to uphold that, and to live and work so that all the nations in this territory can live here for hundreds – maybe thousands – of years to come.
And I am grateful to neighbours who feel for this woman with her shovel, and offer to bring their snow-blower to rescue her from a further 3 hours of exercise in this great white expanse.