grateful, simply and wildly grateful

IAM GRATEFUL THIS MORNING for another vivid pink dawn, and a size-XXL black cat that purrs loudly at the sight of me. Things weren’t always so peaceful between me and Jack the Demon Cat, a semi-wild stray who adopted me but kept his distance—then regularly came closer and took his precision-aim swipes at living things like my arms. Things weren’t always so peaceful between me and my whole life. But I am aware each day of how much has changed, and of these reasons to be grateful:

FOR THE CHANCE to live in the garden, finally, after more than 20 years of back-and-forth weekending. Even nearly three years in to my “new” life, I awaken astonished every day, and remain transfixed by all its intricate goings-on. Were all these mammals, insects, reptiles, birds—not to mention the plants—really this busy doing fantastic things together all those years when I was absent?

FOR FINALLY, after two prior winters of practice, having figured out the right long underwear and the right anti-skid winter footwear to sail through whatever gives. (No, I am not a spokesperson for either.) The question of the right warm slippers remains elusive.

FOR A CELLAR full of garlic and potatoes (sweet and white) and onions and squash, and two freezers full of everything else I grew. With the joy of homegrown food—which sustains us both in the growing, the cooking, and the eating—I am wildly blessed.

FOR THE INTERNET, whose unimaginable range of applications and other super-powers allows us all to learn and connect even when we choose a life of rural solitude.  Particularly for WordPress, the platform that powers this site, and the extended family it has brought to me.

FOR THE OPPORTUNITY to write again—both the memoir coming out in February called “And I Shall Have Some Peace There” (meaning right here), and now another one. Yes, I am starting on the next book, thanks to my faithful editor, and all I can reveal is that the garden has a major role in its plot.

FOR SOMEONE to share it all with (even if he is really hairy and, truth be told, snores loudly). Kidding—I didn’t mean Jack, or at least not only Jack—I meant my tiny but fierce family; my tight little circle of old, old friends; my increasingly neighborly neighbors on this dirt road in this town of 300 that is my true home; and all of you. Thanks for your faithful visits, your comments that make me think and rethink everything we ”talk” about. Thanks for sharing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Top photo by my beloved friend Erica Berger.)

  1. Ami says:

    Have a wonderful day Margaret. Your life is an inspiration to us all. With your new book on order already I am thrilled to hear another is acoming!

  2. Lorna Sass says:

    Thank you, Margaret, for the beautiful gratitudes, reminding me of my own. I am about to get two cats and have been enjoying hearing about Jack’s adventures during this past year without a feline companion. Look very forward to reading your memoire. Have a wonderful day!

  3. Ginger Goolsby says:

    Thank you – today’s message reminds me of all the things I have to be thankful for – not yet the time to garden full-time, but that will come. I have 3 cats and a small dog who bring much joy into my life as well as friends and family. Those are the real things that bring thankfulness – things that money cannot buy. So please keep up your wonderful posts and Happy Thanksgiving to you and also to Jack.

  4. Carlee says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Sometimes I need to remind myself how much I have to be thankful for. High up on that list are my family, friends, and 4 wooly cats. And yea for YakTrax!

  5. Diane McCormack says:

    And I am Thankful for you and the moments of peace and beauty your blog offers me. Maybe, even more to the point, the horizon stretching you inspire in me as I remodel my life at this stage. Happy Thanksgiving to Purr-fect Jack and you.

  6. mary ann says:

    thank you Margaret I happened on your blog by accident looking at your article on garlic.want you to know i had a massive stroke 8 years ago and wasn’t expected to pull through. but by the grace of God here I am loving life and very thankful i can enjoy every thought,every action and you and jack have helped me tremendously,just being yourselves thanks and enjoy your beautiful grounds, your health, and your friends.mary ann

  7. Mary Z says:

    Today reminds me of a thanksgiving we had at least ten years ago with two crazy toddlers running around the table screaming like banshees. I believe that was before Jack.

  8. susan says:

    My life has not been the same since we have met, I am so thankful for that every day. Pansy is thankful for her pillow and Tonto for the blankets he wraps himself in.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. Thank you Margaret! You have already enlarged my world and my sense of what is possible — on WordPress (well, I’m not quite there yet) and beyond. Wild gratitude here as well, for new friendship, new ideas, new books and new horizons. Happy potato mashing my dear!

    1. Margaret says:

      I love this thread of conversation already — old friends like Mary Z (and yes, that was before Jack, yikes!), newer friends like Susan (glad the Jack Russells love those hand-me-down textiles!) and Katrina (who is coaching me on what will happen when my book comes out from her own first-hand experience!).

      And some new commenters: welcome!

      Ami and Kelly and Mary Ann and Diane, and also hello officially here to Lorna Sass. Glad to hear from all of you on this day of tradition and grace.

  10. Cheryl says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Margaret

    I am grateful for good health and an optimistic attitude about what the future holds in retirement in 7 years or so…and I shall have some peace there too!!

    Hope you entire family has a magical day.


  11. Mary-Ellen says:

    Margaret, your blog is a breath of fresh air. I am grateful to you for the inspiration you provide–showing anything is possible if we want it enough to pursue it. So Happy Thanks giving to everyone!!!!

  12. Judi Flynn says:

    I so look forward to your newsletter….. I too will be spending much more time at my country home and especially in my garden….. I am retiring at the end of this year, and can’t wait to find all of the wonders of life in the country. You truly are an inspiration.


  13. Dennis R says:

    i’m thankful for your generous open house visits, which constantly give me
    inspiration, ideas & direction towards my own green space efforts. i’m
    thankful for your seemingly tireless offering of postings & suggestions for new
    plants and shrubs. i’m thankful for all the snips, clumps and cuttings that you’ve
    allowed me to take back home down here in dutchess county (when i walk around outside i smile thinking some of your garden is down here in my garden). today is a day to reflect on many thankful moments.
    Dennis R

  14. Kali says:

    Thanks for being there Margaret, every morning with coffee, even if you haven’t posted that day. It’s always so much fun to peruse the site and learn one more thing, or be inspired or to feel linked in a widening circle with the other crazy gardeners in your tribe. Everyone should have you on their desktop!
    Have a blessed day!


  15. Leslie says:

    Thanks Margaret for every post, for the nourishment it gives me so I can make it through another day in NYC, for helping me connect with Mother Nature…and keep alive my hopes and dreams of someday having a lovely garden, and being able to walk outside at night and see the wonder of the Universe in the bejeweled sky.
    Hope your Holiday weekend is warm and yummy and full of love.
    Leslie G.

  16. Lisa says:

    I really like the Land’s End slippers, and I don’t feel too bad stepping outside for a minute in them because of the rubber soles.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Margaret! Thank you for your contributions to our days!

  17. Michelle B says:

    I am so grateful that finally the time has come after living in our new place for a year, for us to be adopted by a stray cat. Rosetta Stone is his name because he has hieroglyphs-like patterning in his tabby coat, but more importantly in the last year of his slowly warming up to us he has taught me how to translate the loss of my beloved cat a year ago to the acceptance of a new one.

    Since he is a husky young male, I call him Stone in front of men, but Rosetta in front of women. Of course when he and I are alone I call him Rosetta Stone, because I know why I call him that.

    The only way I can warm my feet is by layering many socks, as many as 6 on each foot! I feel like a bit of cat padding around that way also!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  18. Dooryarder says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Margaret – I’m grateful for the inspiration, and plants, you’ve given me. You’re influence is everywhere at my garden on Collins – from the plants that thrive here (Stewartia, Ilex, Viburnum, Aralia) to my curvey beds with crisp edges. There’s no end to joy it gives me – any day of the year.

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