On Feeling Alive

Last week I finally put the garden to bed.  It was a crisp and windy day, sunny and a little bit glorious.  The raspberry bushes scraped my hands; I didn’t mind. It felt good to be outside.  It felt good to be tackling a job I’d been avoiding.  It felt good (truly) to be alive.

The kids had friends over and they were playing soccer, they were laughing, they were alive.

Later, we had pizza.  And a bonfire.  The kids moved between house and fireside.  I sat by the fire as long as possible.  Until it was time for friends to say goodbye.  Until it was time to put the last dishes into the dishwasher. Until it was time to lay my slightly smoke-scented head on the pillow.  It had all felt so good.

That’s the kind of day I love.  A day where things get done and things are enjoyed.  A day lacking demarcation. A day where moments flow one into the next.  A day replete with simple living.

That was a day where the only markers were meals shared and a moment when I stood beside the hydrangea bush.  That moment when I stared at the blooms.  Just the week before they’d been pink!  And now, with color faded, they begged stillness for a minute (maybe it was two?).  And so I stood, then I stooped.  To look closer.  I think I whispered a prayer of gratitude (I hope I whispered a prayer of gratitude).  To the hydrangea.  To the crisp, windy, and glorious day.  To life.  This life that isn’t always easy, but which is pretty glorious.

I clipped a few of the dried and faded hydrangea blooms.  Brought them inside, and set them on the windowsill in our family room.  They are a reminder of how a day can be, how a life might be.

I’m so very fortunate.  And, if you’re reading these words, you’re fortunate too. What do we do with that…that being fortunate?  I’m not sure, except this: embrace your fortune, and be alive.  Count your gratitudes.  Every now and then, allow yourself to pause and stand beside a hydrangea bush.  Spend an extra ten minutes sharing conversation with someone who needs to be heard. Spoon food onto the plate of another.  And say thank you.  To the hydrangea, to the people who pepper your life, to technology which allows you to be here with me right now, to the pillow on which you rest your head each night.  Say thank you, thank you, and thank you.

Then say thank you again.  And feel alive.


Sending a little love your way, m

P.S. For those of you in the United States, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving (a day late, I know)!  For those of you elsewhere in this great world of ours,  I wish you the same.  Because, really, a day dedicated to counting blessings? That’s one we can all enjoy.


I’m putting the finishing touches on my special run of Just Five Things.  It’s a mini edition which I’m calling Grounding for the Holidays.  We’ll gather for just five short days.  Five meaningful days of intention.  Would you like to join us? Click right here.  xo












12 thoughts on “On Feeling Alive

    1. Hope you enjoyed the Thanksgiving weekend, Karen. Yes to creative moments and feeling alive…oh yes!
      And you’re sweet, thank you. I’m glad our paths have crossed…

  1. My gosh, Michelle… Your words. They just always do it. I don’t know how, but boy if I’m grateful for something in this moment, it is that. That your words always touch me the way that they do. I used to have a blog called An Experiment in Gratitude, and in it I really wanted to focus on the feeling of the gratitude just in the ways that you’ve described here. That heartful, soulful feeling that you so brilliantly capture. I also used to often write about what I called Ordinary Magick… and look at that, you’ve done that here too. Just in the ways that I always wanted to. I just can’t tell you how much I love this. That you do it, that you’re so aware of these things, that you’re out there in the world. I appreciate you. Who you are, and what you do. Thanks for being <3

    1. Ah, Angel. What a beautiful compliment. Thank you so much for your kind words, for your reflection. I see that you understand. Thank you for your witness, thank you for being here. I appreciate you too. xo

  2. I hope someday you gather all of your beautiful small essays into a book so I can place it on my bookshelf and pull out to read whenever I need a moment of reflection. Your words are so lovely, Michelle. Always and always. xoxo

    P.S. I’m heading outside to cut some of my faded hydrangea blossoms so that they will remind me that even once the rose is off the bloom (so to speak) it is no less beautiful. <3

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