At 6 this morning I went for a long walk down the road. I enjoyed the air and the trees. I greeted the sun. On my way back, two grouse feathers were presented to me. They were just laying there––two beautiful and perfect feathers laying a foot apart on the gravel road. One for each hand. I walked home holding the feathers out before me, opening to their guidance.

The feathers appeared near the area where I had stopped my car on my way home the other night. It was sunset, and I noticed a grouse silhouetted in the road so I stopped my car well ahead of her, to make sure she got across. Then I saw some movement in the grass to the side—babies! The babies were grown, almost as big as their mama. They were confused, either by the road or by my car, and not sure if/when to cross. I couldn’t really see them, just their heads fluttering the tall grass. So I turned off my car and waited. In singles and pairs they tentatively poked their heads out, stepped carefully onto the road, and then streaked across with their necks craning forward. Funny and sweet! There were 7 or 8 in all. I didn’t start my car and continue until I was sure they were all safely on the other side with mom.

I think that the feathers today are a thank you gift from Mother Grouse. The feathers are also a reminder that it is good to be looking for gifts. Looking-for-gifts is a state of mind that, well-practiced, can become a habit. The biggest gift, of course, is life. It’s not something to take for granted. It’s something I think about every day.

This week is my ten-year cancer-versary. After a dangerous cancer diagnosis, I received the gift of ten extra years of life. Sure, I paid a price for that through the poisoning treatment, but I also received many gifts in the process: I took the exit ramp off the looping track of being a commuting worker bee. I was freed up to take care of my dad during his year in hospice. I moved out into the woods. I reconnected with Nature all around. I was able to focus more on my writing and the books and the sharing of them. I’m right where I want and need to be.

I have so much to be thankful for! I have a lovely place to live, both my home and its surroundings. I have a car that starts every day. I have clean water to drink. I have my sweet family, children and grandchildren. The books are moving along and I am beginning a new leg on that journey, a journey that is exciting and inspiring. Life is good!

Ten years. A decade. So much has transpired in that time. Cancer actually seems far behind me now. I’m not interested in bringing that identity with me into the future. I’m just who I am and that is one chapter in my long life story. I have things ahead of me. I want to be mindful of using my time well. I am honoring my gifts.