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I just posted this on my other regular type blog, A Sudden Alarm of Donkeys but, y’know, it works here too. I’ve been away in Europe for a little while so this is one way to get back into a posting routine. Gratitude is always a good thing.

1. Pets: Dogs, cats, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians – you name it, they are our companions in life. Yes, there are some who equate pets with slavery, that animals in this position are being demeaned, debased, not allowed to reach their full potential in animalness. It doesn’t change anything to point out we have manipulated the outward appearance and physical structure of many of these critters to the point they would not survive outside of our care. To some extent they  fulfill their animalness, realistically, in our homes–that cat napping on the couch, in terms of catness, has achieved satori. I would argue, when that cat is napping on my lap, purring, I’m fairly close to that state too…until my legs go to sleep.        She is a big cat.

2. Reading – literacy, looking at the scribbles on a page or a sign and understanding what another person is thinking or warning me about. It is amazing, as you read these words you are hearing my thoughts…maybe not exactly as I thought them but those ideas, my voice, is in your mind. We grok…

3. Indoor plumbing – it is possible, in a few countries, to identify where you are by the plumbing. Seriously. Of course there is the adventure that is Mexican bathrooms, opening a new door brings a new configuration of pipes, water pressure and, um, lets just say the one rule is always have some form of shoes upon your feet. You can tell a German toilet, on the other hand, by the rather unique feature they all seem to have, i.e. a little platform in the bowl, a landing stage, as it were, for whatever you’ve produced to be viewed: inspected for imperfections or signs of illness or simply admired before flushing away in an efficient cascade of water.

4. People – not just friends, I mean people on the street, that you don’t know and meet only in the action of walking past them. Contact with these other lives, however brief, opens a little window into other worlds, experiences. Everyone of them has a mother, started as an infant, went through years of living to reach this one point where your shoulders brush past each other. Meditate on this next time you find yourself standing in line at the bank or jammed into a bus or subway.

5. Mornings – It’s a ‘do-over’ every day. Some days are not as much fun as others but each morning is putting your foot on a new trail or new section of the trail. This is not the so over-used cry of carpe diem, so much as be very quiet and look for something rustling over there between those trees…