Native Writes: Grateful on the Fourth

Wednesday was the Fourth of July, not Thanksgiving, but I have been feeling gratitude.

The Spring Fire has already exceeded the size of Denver and many persons have been left homeless. I am grateful to live in Alamosa, where fires are quelled almost as soon as they’re discovered.

One of the things I discovered while musing was that complaining doesn’t change anything unless one addresses the person or persons responsible for effecting that change.

I am grateful that whatever is or isn’t happening in Washington, DC hasn’t directly affected me or my family.

As I watch streamed footage of homeowners’ meetings in Costilla County, I see familiar faces and hear voices stressed by the realization that the wrath of nature can’t be controlled.

I am grateful that someone is there to help with immediate needs, though recovery will be a long haul for many.

Walking to my kitchen, I pour a glass of tea and think.

I have attained an age many folks never reach. My body has been difficult at times, but medical science has found a way to make it better.

While I sometimes think I would like to return to my teenaged years, simpler times, I really wouldn’t.

The reason they seemed so simple was that news was limited. I fought with my dad over the newly delivered Courier each day, hungry to read what had happened – on the “Society” page. He leaned toward the radio at night, listening to world news. The United States was in combat in Korea and he worried aloud about my older half-brother, who was still in the Navy.

I am grateful he came home okay, allaying dad’s fears.

My dad was a firefighter, a volunteer who got paid by the run, though he was tasked with being the night driver, so the city provided a place for his family to live. I learned early that a family dinner could be interrupted by a fire call, that he could roll out on Christmas and that was his first commitment.

The biggest fire in Alamosa I can remember was when the railroad shops burned. That was a tough and angry fire, with all the coal, wood and petroleum products involved. The ice house burned, but that was less hot than bitterly cold. An old photo shows dad with long icicles hanging off his arms as he tended the gauges on the fire engine.

Cold was the enemy. With today’s huge fires, hot days are part of the battle. It doesn’t seem to get as cold in the winter now as it did, and I’m grateful.

Or am I? The summers seem hotter and, without humidity, they are hard to bear.

I am grateful for my little air conditioner and my big fan.

This musing time has been a big lesson for me. When my mom was in AA, the book talked about a “fearless self-inventory” and I think that’s where I am at.

Friends, dearly loved ones and children of friends have passed away and I have attended funerals. The people there seem older, as do I. I walk past a mirror and realize the dark spots on my cheeks aren’t freckles. As we age, the body discolors due to liver aging, the slowing of the system and the drying of the skin.

I found a bottle of foundation with SPF-15 – that meant I could wear it in the sun for 15 minutes before I would burn. I put it on and removed it. “Bare Minerals” seemed to be better.

Grateful that there are such substances, I put on my sunglasses and went to the parade. A few drops of sweat erased any mineral “miracles.”

I am grateful for awesome friends who like me no matter how I look.

More than that, I am grateful for the gift of another day and the awareness age brings with it.


More In Opinion