Saturday, October 17, 2009


It is difficult to imagine a more sublime collection of hours than the twenty-four that constitute a Saturday in autumn. I wait for them all week, all year - and they never disappoint.
Those maple-syrup mornings, when we throw open the windows to a crisp and cheerful greeting from the wind. Those pumpkin-orange afternoons spent planting red chrysanthemums and purple cabbages, pink pansies and lemon thyme, while the dogs chase each other through the garden, surprised once again by October. Those warm and cozy nights when the only place on earth I want to be is in my kitchen, stirring a cauldron of homemade soup, peeking in on an oven full of rising bread, with Edward and Apple dozing on the floor.

On these delicious Saturday evenings I am always joined by the sounds of A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio. A long time staple in our house,
Prairie Home Companion is a wonderfully entertaining two hour variety show created and hosted by writer, Garrison Keillor. The show is funny and smart, with marvelous stories and eclectic music - everything from Jean Redpath to Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris to Yo-Yo Ma. We love it. I am convinced if Edward met Mr. Keillor, he would know him instantly, so well acquainted is he with the man’s voice.

The Songwriter and I were fortunate to talk with Mr. Keillor ourselves the other evening after he spoke at a local college here in town. A charming man, affable and witty, with just a soupcon of crankiness - just as I knew he would be. I was especially struck by the words he spoke on the subject of gratitude. In response to a question from the audience about God, he replied that the only way he knew to live, and the only way he knew to relate to God, was in gratitude. I sighed a happy sigh of recognition, for I so agree. Indeed, I have long felt that if we spent our hours feeling thankful for the gifts we’ve been given, gifts that are never more evident than in the month of October, what contentment we would find.
Glowing stars in a velvet sky.... a blue-green Cinderella pumpkin resting solemnly under the leaves of a foxglove.... a perfect Honeycrisp apple.... a dog’s cold nose and smiling face.... drifting off to sleep under goose down while an autumn rain peppers the fallen leaves outside.
Once you begin to notice, the simple beauty, the grand mystery, that lies just waiting to be found in the natural world this time of year is endless. So much to be grateful for. I was warmed to the bones to hear Mr. Keillor express the importance of gratitude so clearly. He is a wise man. And his radio show makes the best autumnal Saturday even better.


Welcome Morning

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

~ Anne Sexton ~