A practice to cultivate gratitude on a daily basis


A grateful person is a happy person. Gratitude is the balm of the soul, especially in the worst of times.

As a gratitude practice … recently inspired by a sock, I’ve rounded up a few of the little moments I’ve been grateful for over the years and still have with me:

Finding my fox sock again, after wearing it once with her companion and then losing it for 11 months, was a pure moment of happiness.

I had gone shopping for socks last Christmas for my family and had ordered a particularly charming pair with a red fox knitted at the ankle for me.

I especially love foxes and think that if there is a spirit animal, the red fox is mine. My heart leaps whenever I spot a rare fox, whether it’s a lone fox leaping through tall grass, a winking tail, or a family of kittens hiding in a culvert in a road the country.

When I found fox socks online, I couldn’t wait for them to find my marks.

The sock disappeared last December after its first wash. I thought he must be somewhere in the house. He would introduce himself.

Yet in 11 months, it never was… until my husband found her in the long sleeve of one of his old shirts (unbeknownst to him my fox sock was already missing). She had slipped in in the wash, and since he hadn’t worn that shirt all year, he found it while sorting out some clothes to donate.

Keeping hope, I had kept his companion all this time and they are finally reunited; those sneaky fox socks!

Here are a few more of my favorite little gratitudes:

• All the other priceless things I found after losing: a golden Vatican crucifix my mother bought for me, which I lost on Easter Sunday; the diamond of my engagement ring which had fallen from its setting, which my husband found in a carpet; a silver bicycle charm with handlebars and pedals I brought back from a bike trip to the San Juan Islands, which I spotted a year later in the gravel of my driveway.

• Bump into a Porta pot in no time tucked in the corner of a golf course in Whitefish. Years ago, on a day-long bike ride, I really had to go, but no sheltered place to “get off the road” was nowhere to be found.

• The new hygienist from my new dentist who told me on my first visit that I had beautiful teeth.

• Owl sightings. While riding my bike just before dusk, I peeked at a fence post a few feet away and met a great horned owl. Arrive in our driveway moments before dark and spot a lighted Great Horned Owl atop the nearest telephone pole. With binoculars handy, we took a close look and could see his trademark tufts of feathers.

• Be easily amused. During a recent pre-dinner conversation, I continued to exclaim with a foreign accent of unknown origin about how “flautas fit very well in the pan” – “flautas” sounding like a old weather radio we once had whose voice slowly said the word “cloudy”, dropping the last syllable like it was sad enough. It always made us laugh… now the “flautas” too.

• My son’s dog, Copper, an adorable Basenji who likes to jump, nudges me on the behind with his two paws, then runs away for me to chase him into the living room where he comes to a halt abruptly. ‘waiting to stroke it.

• Here we are, November 28, and we have had an amazing weather month, with more than our fair share of blue skies, sunshine and mild temperatures. Whatever winter brings me, I have a bouquet of November blue birds to dream of.

And here’s one that’s not at all small:

• Never more than in the past two years have I been so deeply aware of the fragility of life. My health and that of my family is both a treasure and a blessing… there but for the grace of God.

Community Editor-in-Chief Carol Marino can be reached at 406-758-4440 or community@dailyinterlake.com.

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