I’ve been reading about gratitude lately. Gratitude sounds a bit hippy-dippy. It may be practised by those rather maddening earnest types who are always buggering off and finding themselves in foreign parts. To the phlegmatic, stoical, faintly sceptical British spirit the whole thing may seem faintly embarrassing.
But it has science to go with it, and I love a bit of science. There are empirical proofs. If one is grateful for what one has instead of cross about what one does not, everything is better.
Apparently, gratitude has even more teeth if one looks at a thing about which one would normally complain and finds some good in it. The most usual example is: when it is raining, don’t complain about the rain, feel happy you have an umbrella.
I am far too cussed for fads, and disdain bandwagons. (Watch them rumbling past with everyone leaping on the back. What a shower.) On the other hand, I have a natural feeling for gratitude. I’m always looking at the trees and thanking nature for the green leaves. I can find acute joy in a piece of moss. I sometimes grow fraught about my job, and the hoops through which I must jump. Then I remember that I have opposable thumbs, so that I can type.
Today, I’ve been looking through my ridiculous photographic archive and trying desperately to organise it. Because I am a most amateur but very enthusiastic photographer, and I have absolutely no idea what I am doing, I tend to take an inordinate amount of photographs in the hope of capturing one golden moment. (Sometimes, to my amazement, this does happen, due to sheer dumb luck.) Usually, I get a bit grumpy about the bulging files and the poor over-loaded computer. Today, instead of growing scratchy, I thought: gratitude.
And there they were, all the things for which I am grateful. There was Scotland, and the trees, and Stanley the Dog, looking crazily handsome. There was the sublime red mare and my family and the people I love. There was the sea and the sky and the hills.
There was, in a wider sense, the fact that I have eyes to see, a good camera that works, the time to stand and stare. There was the lovely good fortune which means I may record all these weeks and days, all the things which mean so much to me.
So, I’m still walking in the rain and riding in the rain and standing in the rain. I’ve gone a bit hippy-dippy. I’m not going to go and find myself, because really. But I am damn grateful.
From that good old archive; a little gratitude list of their very own: