Alexandria, VA – Now in the time of the coronavirus pandemic we are encouraged to stay at home and as I write this it seems especially important to stay mindful and grateful.
Mindfulness is a serious discipline for me. It’s hard work and I can only manage it for a little while at a time. I try to be aware of the many “simple” technologies in my life, things I could not begin to replicate on my own.
Most mornings when I awake, I stretch while still in bed and ask myself what day it is and what’s on the calendar. These days there is virtually nothing on the calendar, but still the creation of the calendar was a very big thing.
Usually I awake before the radio turns itself on. When it begins playing I think radio, electricity, music, and the artists who write and play it. I am in a comfortable bed — mattress, pillows, sheets, and blanket. I think fabrics and weaving. I head for the bathroom and think water, indoor plumbing, toilet paper. We are learning to be especially appreciative of toilet paper.
I step on the scale — scale. (Sometimes I am less than grateful for it.) I keep a log of my weight. Pencil. Paper. Writing. Reading. I dress. Clothing, fabric again and sewing. Shoes and shoelaces. Someone thought to put holes in shoe tops and make laces with hard tips to thread through them. Hearing aid. Eyeglasses. Wristwatch. Earrings. Comb and brush. Make up. Mirror.
I usually stop at the desktop computer first thing most mornings, even before breakfast. The computer is for me a whole other technology that I don’t even begin to understand.
Morning pill and a glassful of water. Medical system. Glass. Water again and at a touch of the tap. Breakfast. A refrigerator (electricity again) and food. An entire efficient distribution system. The system is being sorely tested right now but for most of us, there is still food to buy. Especially now, we acknowledge and are grateful for the hands that plant and harvest the fruit and vegetables and stock the shelves.
This morning I treated myself to a scrambled egg sandwich. Bread in a loaf. Eggs in a carton. Coffee. Electric coffee maker. Coffee mug. Plates. Knife, fork, spoon. Breakfast counter and chair. I have breakfast by a window from where I can watch the birds at the feeder. Windows. Glass.
I step outside for the newspaper. The morning newspaper. Printing, journalists, photographers, and the distribution system again.
The car waits on the drive, ready to take me—wherever—once we are free to be out and about again. Automobile. Gasoline at a pump. Roads and traffic lights. Street Signs.
The mailbox is out front too. Mail and its wondrous distribution system. Think about it. Write a letter or pay a bill and it is delivered virtually anywhere in the world.
A little more than an hour has passed since I stretched into wakefulness. I have only made it out of the door and I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of the gifts to me from unknown minds and hands. I am knocked down to my knees with gratitude for the comforts I enjoy because of where and when I was born. I have done nothing to deserve them. I can only be aware and grateful for them.
Won’t you write and tell me what you’re grateful for – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mosaic artist/photographer Nina Tisara is the founder of Living Legends of Alexandria.