Monday, November 28, 2011


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Like everybody else over the weekend, I took stock of what I'm thankful for and resolved to be less petty about the mundane things, the things that don't matter in life.  I eat on a regular schedule, I have a roof over my head, and I have all the basic necessities one requires to be generally fulfilled.  Sure, I complain and I say things are a pain in the ass, and I have a few laughs about it.  After spending some time thinking about all the things I'm thankful for, I still didn't feel like I had it nailed down, like I was missing something very basic that still wasn't articulated.   Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks as Nikki and I were enjoying a walk with Bella, and I knew exactly what I was thankful for.

We often go for walk in Sorich park in San Anselmo on the weekends when we want to do something different.   The air is always cool and it has the heavenly smell of damp eucalyptus trees most days.  It must be pure sensual ecstasy for a dog to sniff the area, and Bella did so with urgency.   You can choose an easy path or you can choose to head straight uphill for a more difficult climb and workout.  We climbed first and got some nice shots from up high, then headed back down to the footpath for some easier walking.  We've been to the park several times so we knew that we would eventually run into Mt. Tamalpais Cemetery if we followed the path far enough.  

Cemeteries always give me pause because I inherently know that's where we all end up.  Whether it's now or a year or 50 years, that's the end game, and our time on earth is so inconsequential in geological time.  Regardless of your religious beliefs about the after life, I would venture to say we all feel that claustrophobic feeling when we look at burial plots.  If there is the smallest black hole of doubt that may exist in your universe of faith and in the after life, it will certainly rush to the forefront in these moments of reflection and mock you, call you names, and laugh in your face.  In fact, I can imagine that this very moment of reflection and claustrophobia is exactly why religion exists in the first place.  We can't fathom nothing.  Despite all that deep thinking, I still couldn't help but notice the small concrete mausoleum nearby and that it would make a nice, gritty background, so I got a shot of Bella by it.  Also, the deciduous trees are strikingly similar in color to the Colorado aspen trees in the fall, something that always surprises me just a bit.

Nikki pointed out a particular headstone as we were walking back out of the park that caused me to reflect again.  The sun coming through the trees was beautiful and the headstone seemed to be isolated from the others.  I looked at the date and noticed this person was buried in 1956.  That's 55 years ago, in the ground longer than I've been alive.

And then it hit me.  The thing I'm thankful for, the thing I couldn't quite articulate earlier is this:  I'm thankful to be alive, today,now, smelling the eucalyptus, walking, thinking, writing.  I may be gone tomorrow, but right now, I'm breathing.  I'm of this world. And that's what matters.

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