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November 23, 2004

The Litany

Beth posted a list a few days ago of things for which she was grateful. And as much as I like to complain about life (see previous 85 posts for examples), I have to admit that list has been rolling around in my mind, encouraging me to think of things for whose presence in my life I am thankful. Also there's a holiday coming up Thursday and stuff. So here goes.

1) For these words and all others, for the writers who use them, for Nabhan and Felger and Solnit, Childs and Tempest-Williams and Berry and Oliver and Quammen and Lopez and Zwinger, and all who have inspired me, thank you. For those no longer writing, Ed and Wally and Ellen and Stephen J. and Joe Krutch and Cousin Henry, thankful tears. For my paltry ability to share in the pursuit of shaping words into story, no thanks are sufficient.

2) For Lila Downs, for whom I would walk barefoot across a mile of broken lava in the desert just to wash her car with my tongue, thank you.

3) While we're at it, for Rokia Traore, Aster Aweke, Amalia Rodrigues, Susanna Baca, Gillian Welch, Iris Dement, Julie Miller, Kate Wolf and her buddy Nina Gerber, Cesaria Evora and Daniela Mercury and Picaflor de los Andes and Quentin Howard and Joan Baez when she isn't being condescending, which face it is approximately never, and for this world that has the female voice in it. Thank you.

4) For musicians of the weaker sex: Regis Gisavo, D'Gary, John Hyatt, Julie Miller's husband Buddy, Tom Robinson even though his lovely paranoid political punk from the 1970s has mainly come true, the Clash (especially Sandinista), Charlie King, Arlo and his dad and that kid from Hibbing, Dave Lippman, Tito Paris, Duy Khanh, John Doe and Billy Zoom and Dave Alvin, Merle and Willie and Tom T., thank you.

5) For Vietnamese wedding banquets where two hundred fifty guests crack crab as the uncle of the bride mounts the stage and belts out three drop-dead gorgeous Saigon torch songs, gives a shy wave, and sits down to eat steamed rock cod, thank you.

6) For trucks with burritos, and tiny shops with pupusas for sale therein, for pho and banh mi, for Becky's curry, for oysters that travel four feet from Tomales Bay to my gullet, for tamales from the produce stand around the corner and Tandoori Chicken USA in the old Foster's Freeze on San Pablo Dam Road, for papas a la huancaina and carapulcra and deep-fried squid and salt and pepper fish, for roasted kid in chile colorado, thank you.

7) For Becky, who completes me, and without whom I would be naught – if I were to say thank you a thousand times a day for a million years, it would not begin to cover the depth of my gratitude for even just the moments spent together saying nothing.

8) For my friends from the blog world, for dear sweet Anne and for Dave and Siona, for Rana who writes inspiring, fiery, funny things I wish I'd written and for Beth who writes deeply thoughtful things I never could have, for Chris Rieder and Tom Montag, for elck and Dale who keep me on my toes, for Pica and Numenius who got me into this mess, for Doc Rock who I will drag to Cima Dome someday, for Lisa Thompson and the oysters from Tomales Bay, for Jarrett who I'll meet on the trail before the New Year, and Caitlin and Susurra and dear Miguel and all who've left thoughtful and provocative comments, a million thanks.

9) For online friends in general, for the People With No Lives and those who may or may not be without head coverings, for the cafeinds and the afuisti and the racsers, thank you.

10) For friends I have left behind, the classmates and fellow travelers, old housemates and old flames, spread from Taos to Olympia to Asheville, Canberra to Karachi, thank you.

11) For those who passed through my life on their way out, Bill Stack and Pete Valentic and Herb Hauer, Judi Bari and Dave Brower, Jake Kramer and Charlie Haynie and Al Ricciuti and Ed Powell, Nina Neudorfer and Madeleine Page and You Know Who, I touch my brow to the floor in thanks.

12) For friends of long standing, Greg Lester and Ron and Joe and Meester Matthew, Berna my heart of hearts, Mike Ketterer and Elena Gellert and Dave Roycroft, and for your profound patience over the decades, deepest thanks.

13) For Becky's family, and (oh all right) for mine, thank you.

14) For dinner Thursday with bright-eyed nephew Liam and devastating femme fatale niece Sophie, just shy of her first birthday, and for the chance to watch them grow, and for all my dear and far-flung and incredibly gorgeous nieces and nephew making their marks on the world, some of them in indelible ink on the new paint, Allison and Grace and Meghan and Emily and Lissa, and for Carolyn and James who I need to visit someday, thank you.

15) For the world; for Corvus corax and Uintatherium, for three-day-old calochortus blossoms against Ramalina lichen, for my muse Yucca brevifolia and all her consorts, for the shifting crustal plates that shape my homeland and the rain that washes it to the sea, for the Pleiades and Luna and the Galilean moons, canyon wrens and coyotes, for the spiders with whom I shower and the mice in the compost, for the dog and the rabbit and the guinea pig and all their commensals, for all the tangled tree of shared ancestry and its mineral substrate: I thank you.

Posted by Chris Clarke at November 23, 2004 01:24 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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I have a new friend I'm thankful for. Have a good holiday Chris.

Posted by: OGeorge at November 23, 2004 03:10 PM
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Right back atcha, tough guy. Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by: the_bone at November 23, 2004 07:38 PM
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what could i possibly add - except to say i am personally so thankful that we have formed a real friendship in the last few months. i love your words, my friend. i love who you are.

Posted by: Anne at November 24, 2004 12:41 PM
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Wow, you ARE a lucky guy! I'm honored to be included even though I'm not much of a hiker and refuse to be cold. Ever. (I'll just start on my List now, see what happens.)

Posted by: Doc Rock at November 24, 2004 01:48 PM
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Great list. An honor to be included with the spiders & mice & the crusty plates.

Posted by: Dave at November 27, 2004 07:43 AM
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