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  • Writer's pictureashleylodato

The ABCs of Methow Valley gratitude

A few times in the past I’ve written about the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal, but I’ve never followed through on my own counsel. I’ve made a few attempts, but as all followers of Yoda know, “there is no try.” We either do or do not–and I did not; each time I abandoned the effort after a few days, grateful to be closing the pages of whichever winsome notebook I had thought might inspire me this time. Now I just continue to do what I have always done when I experience gratitude: I pause and hold the moment as long as I can, trying to absorb it. 

In response to a column I wrote recently about being overwhelmed by the moon rising over Omak, a friend shared with me a similar experience he had watching “a dying salmon slowly swimming near the surface, with golden cottonwood leaves stuck against its dorsal fin.” I love moments like this, the ones that pierce us and leave us feeling like a tiny part of something greater than ourselves. 

There is so much to notice here, so many reasons to be thankful. As I move through my life in the valley, from work to family time to recreation to time in public, I gather little nuggets of gratitude that I sometimes think of as my Methow Valley gratitude alphabet. Chances are you have your own cache. Mine follows.

Arrowleaf balsamroot, aurora borealis, alpenglow; book club, bartering, bald eagles, berries, big thinkers; community, collaboration, connection, creativity, conservation, constellations; dark skies, dawn and dusk, deep forests, dialogue; early morning runs alone on the trail, elders, emergency response systems, entrepreneurs; farms and farmers, forgiveness, family, full moons; girlfriends, grants, glaciers, grace, gardens; heirloom grains, hummingbirds, hay bales, humility, honey, hope; integrity, idle afternoons, intellectual curiosity; journeys, jokes, joy; kindness, kin, kayaking; lynx, lupine, larch, lakes, listening; mindfulness, Methow Descendants, memoirs, meal trains, moss; new moons, nuance, novels; osprey, otters, open minds; pools and ponds, problem-solving, peaks and pinnacles, participating, patience, privacy, philanthropy, podcasts; quail, quiet, questions; river rocks, ridgelines, respect, reading, role models, reconciliation; sunrises and sunsets, soup night, silos, solitude, stars, schools, snowpack, serviceberries, science; teachers, trails, tolerance, traditions; utter silence, unity; volunteers, vulnerability; wolverines, water, winter nights, work, weekends; x̌ʷnámx̌ʷnam, xeriscaping; youth sports, yarrow, yellowjacket traps, yoga of yesteryear with Erika Spellman.

And Z? Zillions of things to be grateful for in the Methow Valley.

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