Friday, July 9, 2010

These I Have Loved

A warm and breezy desert night.

The sound a quail makes.  The sight of 10 little fuzzy babies running in a line after their parents.

The way the forest looks after a rain and a sliver of sunlight breaks through the cloud cover.

The full moon reflecting on mountain lakes seen from the air on a midnight flight leaving Alaska.

My Dad's spontaneous little back rubs while sitting next to me at a dinner.

The sound of the water parting and the exhale of a small pod of Orca whales as they glided through the calm water toward a boat full of 25 people struck silent by their awe.

These I have loved.
I would really like to get a hold of the address of my 7th Grade English teacher, Mr. Winzler. I want to write and thank him.  I think I always liked to write but I didn't really recognize it until one day in his class. I distinctly remember my desk being right up by his at this particular time in the school year. Most of my memories of his class are of when I sat way on the other side of the room. But this time, I sat right under him, it seemed, as he stood in front of his desk and introduced us to our next assignment. He read us a piece written by a woman; it was titled, "These I Have Loved". It was merely a list of things that brought her pleasure. The only one I remember was something about sneaking into the kitchen at midnight for a bowl of ice cream when everyone else was asleep.

I sat there, looking up, listening to him read this beautiful list of ordinary things being glorified into meaningfulness, and I LOVED it. I was captivated.  Moved.  I could feel excitement wakening and building inside me.  I couldn't wait to do the assignment.

Oh, how I wish I still had that paper. I would love to know what I wrote.  But I can't remember a single thing.  All I know is that it started my love for putting things into words.

I loved that assignment. When I was in High School I wrote a second one of my own initiative. Thinking about it recently I realize it's something I'd like to do more often. Because of this assignment way back in 7th grade, I frequently find myself thinking of things I have loved. Little things. Sights, sounds, smells, moments, feelings, interactions.  That assignment taught me to savor things.  I want to do that more, savor things.

I'd also like to write another These I Have Loved piece. I've found that, after so many years of living, I have much to write. There are just so many things I have loved. I'm not sure how I'll whittle it down to a meaningful piece of writing.  There is quite an eclectic mixture of things I'd like to include, too.  What I wrote above is just what came to me off the top of my head.  There are many ordinary things I would include as well.  Things like: 

Hugging a warm towel fresh out of the dryer.
Seeing someone's birthday cards all standing up displayed on a table, signs that they are loved.
A cat waking up with a huge yawn and a big stretch.
The smell of a pipe.

I invite you to write a "These I Have Loved" piece of your own. It's a wonderful tool for opening your eyes to some of the beauties of life you may ordinarily pass quickly over. Taking on an "assignment" makes us stop and ponder, makes us take a look at our everyday life and magnify some of the beauty that is so easily overlooked. I would love for you to share your list with me - the whole thing, selected highlights, or just one line.  Just copy it into a Comment. Or if you have your own blog, post it there and link to it in a Comment on this post.

I think this little assignment for ourselves has great potential.  I think it would be a great idea to do every year.  These I Have Loved About 2010.  Truly the list could be miles long if we stop to magnify the small glories of 365 days.  I'm thinking this would even be a great exercise to do every night before bed.  These I Have Loved About This Day.   I know I could use this kind of cultivating of a thankful heart.  I think I'll try and start a new habit.  I'll start tonight.


  1. Hi Judi,
    What a lovely idea!

    Things I have loved (and still do)

    Tired feet in a cool running stream.
    Morning rain on the tent.
    Bare feet on dew covered grass.
    Me, Amanda and Hobie our cat falling asleep on the sofa in a heap.
    Warm Rioja.
    Having my back stroked.
    Lying amongst coastal rocks, with a cool breeze, and the sound of the waves.
    Sipping Laphroig.
    Smell of fresh coffee and bread.
    Clear winding road on the motorbike first thing in the morning.
    The feel of a good quality suit.
    Smell of a garden after it rains.
    The stillness on a mountainside.

  2. I love it! Oh, that was so fun to read, Gary! Many of your sentences made me go, "Oooooo, yes!" Thank you for sharing!