by JC Schildbach
I have to feed the hummingbirds.
Well, actually, I have to fill the hummingbird feeders. The hummingbirds will have to feed themselves at that point.
I should clean and fill the hummingbird feeders much more frequently than I do– it really only takes a few minutes–I mean, minus the time to make the food and wait for it to cool down— for the health of the birds, and to make sure I won’t be subject to their angry chittering each time I step outside.
Okay. I don’t know that the chittering is angry, or aimed at me. I apparently just carry a tremendous amount of guilt about all the things I’m not getting to, because of all the other things I’m trying to get to, only a small percentage of which actually gets done.
Distractions upon distractions.
And it’s getting cold enough outside that I need to rig up the Christmas lights on the hummingbird feeders, to keep the food from freezing.
I don’t want to get into clichés about an attitude of gratitude, but why don’t I just say I’m thankful for the presence of so many beautiful birds around my home – and happy that I can help our own local hummingbirds make it through the winter? (The Anna’s hummingbirds hang out all year round.)
I was going to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this November, as a way to try and jump-start my writing again.
But after one short sprint of writing early in the month, I haven’t gotten back to it at all.
In part, work has been too draining. And my days off have been spent in other distractions, from cleaning up the Halloween decorations, to a road trip to celebrate my kid’s birthday, to binge-watching TV shows in between loads of laundry.
Again, not to get into any clichés about an attitude of gratitude, but why couldn’t I just say I’m happy to have the opportunity to write when I want, thankful for a job, ecstatic at the chance to go all-out for Halloween, and delighted at the opportunity for travel and screen-time with my family?
Ah, laundry—the ultimate distraction—never done.
So easy to generate more.
There’s always bedding and towels if you get out ahead of the clothing.
No attitude of gratitude clichés here, but why can’t I just say I’m happy I can do my own laundry, right here, in home, and that I have a plethora of wonderful things to wash?
I’ve largely been absent from my blog all year due to all manner of distractions—self-generated, as well as external.
Office upheavals and client deaths.
All manner of medical and mental health concerns rippling throughout my world.
A childish, attention-seeking buffoon in the White House, dominating the news cycle all-day, every day.
An election that seemingly started two years ago, with alternating possible hope-filled and doomsday outcomes.
So, about that attitude of gratitude cliché – why didn’t I just say (again) I’m glad to have gainful employment, and that everybody I know and love is at least relatively healthy (well, the ones who didn’t die), that I have the opportunity to get information from a wide range of different forms of media, and that I get to exercise my right to vote?
And really, anytime I sit down to write, it’s always so much easier to pop online and shop for things I don’t need, scroll through numerous online feeds and articles, and pick dumb fights with strangers and near-strangers, or perhaps family and friends…some now former friends and estranged family.
It’s Thanksgiving, and I should be aimed, as clichéd as it is, toward that attitude of gratitude—meaning I really should have just said that it’s great that so many of us now have access to amazing forms of technology that allow us to communicate with people around the world, or buy stuff from almost anywhere on the planet—no matter how much we might abuse that technology.
There are all the other annual projects, bordering on obligations.
I already mentioned the Halloween decorations.
And then there’s the ‘gardening’.
Of course, the weather this year was so strange that the plants weren’t entirely sure if they were supposed to be doing anything, and most just squeezed out a few little fruits or vegetables, although I regularly watered and fed them.
Then, in late summer, a spell of cool weather, followed by a spell of very hot weather, followed by some heavy rains further confused the plants, leading some into dormancy and others into thinking the growing season had finally arrived.
But by then, I had moved on to trying to get a jump on the Halloween decorations and decided the plants could fend for themselves.
Yeah, yeah, attitude, gratitude – I should be focusing on how great it is that I have a place to indulge my inner farmer and my Halloween obsession.
But the inspiration for this whole piece was how the competing distractions have led to, perhaps, a higher-than-usual level of chaos around here, so that I look out my window in late November and see scenes like this poor neglected fruit on the vine (not to mention me not having cut back the plants and moved the pots to a reasonable location):
But then Ding Dong photo-bombed my sad tomato plants, while also barking in my ear, so I got this image, which is, I guess, more gratitude-inspiring:
Anyway, I’m not sure if my forced attitude-of-gratitude conclusion is that I should be like Ding Dong and be all grateful and loud for whatever I’m doing at whatever moment, or if it is more about how I should be like Ding Dong who is always and ever himself, regardless of whatever else is going on—which, in my case, would mean I can stifle that perceived need to express some clichéd attitude of gratitude just because it’s Thanksgiving.
And, really, anyone who actually knows me knows I’m not exactly an ingrate.
Although I may be overly grateful for the opportunity to complain.