Grace notes

GREEN_BEAN_NICOISE_SALAD_091It’s 10:20 p.m., and I’m tired, so I don’t know how this piece will turn out.  But I committed to daily posting, so I don’t want to turn out the light on the day without expressing my gratitude for its fullness in little things.  It’s not like I was so busy with anything outstanding: I subbed a class, I went to the market, I got my hair cut.  I walked the dogs and cooked dinner for friends.  Nothing special.  Yet all of it was flourished with little grace notes.  The class began oddly, when the janitor didn’t show up to move fifteen spin cycles and mop sweat off the studio floor. The club manager got snippy with me when I came down to ask for help. The towels we used to swab the sweat turned a deep grungy gray; this floor must not get mopped too often. Ick. But the students were warm-hearted and so welcoming.  I’m hard pressed to recall a group of students who smiled more enthusiastically, or expressed greater appreciation after class.

I try to avoid the Cambridge Whole Foods on Saturdays because the parking lot is mobbed. Checkout lines sometimes snake halfway down the food aisles. Today, I found a parking spot easily. As I was getting my bags out of the Prius, I heard a whistle, and looked up to see my friend Kira parked the next aisle over.  She lives in Cambridge and I don’t get to see her often enough. We walked in to the store together, stopping in front of a sweet-smelling display of cherries, where we gabbed for about ten minutes. She’s one of those friends who always gets to the heart of things; I admire her courage, love her vulnerability, groove to her intelligence. It was good to see her.

My hairdresser Katie is due to have a baby in just two weeks. She’s been cutting my hair for at least ten years, reluctantly escorting me through the gnarly transition from chemical brown to natural gray. She co-owns the salon with her friend Gina. Gina has had a few kids over the years, but Katie, who is thirty-six and single, thought children probably weren’t in the cards for her. Then bam! She and her boyfriend found themselves expecting a baby, a little girl. They like the name Vanessa, or maybe Danica. Katie looks radiant, rounded and softened, as she rolls around me on a stool to cut my hair.  She’s traded out her usual high-heels for bedazzled Birkenstocks; it’s so endearing how motherhood changes us. Katie has big blue eyes and dimples. I hope Vanessa/Danica inherits those traits.

The dinner I prepared tonight was not elaborate: grilled salmon and a niçoise-y platter of steamed new potatoes and green beans, hard boiled eggs, and olives, a green salad on the side. Yet it fit the bill—elegant in its simplicity, satisfying enough for our friends, who between them had biked over a hundred miles this afternoon and needed to refuel. The conversation was fun and thought-provoking and effortless.

And: there were no bugs out on the trails today when I walked the dogs. It’s deerfly season, and the little buggers usually swarm Westley’s drool-y jaw, dive-bomb my eyes, get stuck in my hair.  But today, they were absent, and we could walk in peace, no constant swatting at the air in front of my face.

A day full of many small blessings.

Gratitude #13

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