The Deliverance of Gratitude

golden watercolor of fallen leaves with red dots
A color study of willow leaves

Wonder is where it starts, and though wonder is also where it ends, this is no futile path. Whether admiring a patch of moss, a crystal, flower, or golden beetle, a sky full of clouds, a sea with the serene, vast sigh of its swells, or a butterfly wing with its arrangement of crystalline ribs, contours, and the vibrant bezel of its edges, the diverse scripts and ornamentations of its markings, and the infinite, sweet, delightfully inspired transitions and shadings of its colors — whenever I experience part of nature, whether with my eyes or another of the five senses, whenever I feel drawn in, enchanted, opening myself momentarily to its existence and epiphanies, that very moment allows me to forget the avaricious, blind world of human need, and rather than thinking or issuing orders, rather than acquiring or exploiting, fighting or organizing, all I do in that moment is “wonder,” like Goethe, and not only does this wonderment establish my brotherhood with him, other poets, and sages, it also makes me a brother to those wondrous things I behold and experience as the living world: butterflies and moths, beetles, clouds, rivers and mountains, because while wandering down the path of wonder, I briefly escape the world of separation and enter the world of unity.  
-Herman Hesse

As we head into the sanctioned season of coming together and giving thanks in a world ripped apart again by violence, it seems more important than ever to acknowledge all of those relationships that energize us and lift us up. As I inch closer to another decade, I need to take how I express gratitude up a notch, above and beyond the daily exchange of pleasantries and thank yous. Of course, I take a great deal for granted and always will, so I have to make gratitude part of my daily absolutions, like flossing, emptying the dishwasher, and walking our dog Rose.

I have already written that my daily color study practice has increased my sense of wonder, but more importantly, I better understand the correlation between wonder and gratitude. This simple exercise of noting the color around me binds me to place and is a meditation on finding joy in what we usually overlook, what we are rushing past. In our search for a seminal new experience, that outfit that will turn every head, the new travel destination that will bestow revelation and hipness–all amplified by social media–we are missing out on that sunflower pushing up against a fence in an abandoned lot or the amazing kaleidoscope-like array of falling leaves or how many shades of gray, indigo, and purple are tucked into a simple shadow. There are infinite universes around us – we just need to tap into them.

A heartfelt thank you to all who support our small business and drop by the studio to visit, catch up, and cheer us on. It all matters.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving.

We learned about gratitude and humility - that so many people had a hand in our success.  -Michelle Obama

white dog facing a mountain range
Rose surveying the day

1 comment

I became aware of your work, Isa, when I attended the National Audubon Society’s Strategic meeting in Estes Park, Colorado a couple of weeks ago. We were given one of your silk gaiters to remember the conference by, and I now see it is part of a special project you have done with them. I am ordering several others for friends (just starting cancer chemo) and family (ok, and for me!). I resonate with your blog also; connecting with nature is absolutely therapeutic for me. I have come to art and non-scientific writing in my later life but so love this new bloom, and the new connections and mentors I find at every turn. Thank you, Carol

Carol D Hamilton

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