Thankful for this Life

by Tom Swift

Hillside Cemetery — You get this moment, this life. You get to live. You get to see these trees. Like that one over there — you never noticed this before, in all this time — but that tree to the south seems to have not one but three trunks, tightly interwoven, all reaching for the sky. Look at that.

It is cool. As it should be. You feel the November air in your bones. Yet you are comfortable.

Today you saw a bald eagle. Perched, he was, on a branch on the bank of the Mississippi. He sat there scanning the horizon. Surveying the running river. They are so much larger than you expect them to be. Such stature. No wonder we wanted to associate ourselves with them.

There is a maple leaf on your knee. Not sure how it got there. You flatten it out.

You are wearing your Go Canada mitts. You got them dirty brushing away the marker.

A pinwheel spins over there on the side of the hill. You remember it from the last time.

That time you wrote. You ate your dinner.

Soon, on this day, you will go get your day’s feast.

Right now you just breathe.

You tell him what’s up. You are here to say hello. You won’t be here long.

Something feels different than before. Not sure what but you trust it, whatever it is.

You had to fight a bit to get to this point. From time to time you are prone to nostalgia but, no, no — you do not want to go back. You are glad for where you have been — where you have needed to go — but you don’t want to turn this ship around. Even if you could. You can’t imagine life without the imposed need to make something from nothing. Not everybody gets that. And what happens if they don’t — if you hadn’t? You can only try to fathom what you might not have been forced to find.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.