Have you ever wondered what life would be like IF…

Fill in the blanks. You were fatter or thinner, taller or shorter, had more sex, had less sex, were more in love, were less in love, had a different job, lived on a mountaintop. The list is endless.

Deep in the afternoon, all I see are white clouds drifting across the light-blue sky. I am thankful for the breeze coming through the window screen and the ceaseless song of birds. When I am ready to retire at night, they are still singing on their branches.

In the garden, the beans are taller by the day. Tomatoes just waiting to sprout. I used to have a backyard swing and spend warm afternoons listening to the wind and turning the page. Last winter, the squirrels ate through the cushions. It’s time to find a new one.

And I am remembering weekends at Peg’s farm, the mismatched mugs on low shelves where wall met ceiling, the sunrise over the Shenandoah foothills early, wine at night in plain goblets like exclamation points for our poems.

And I am remembering weekends in Des Moines – vast wind and extreme heat, utter bitter cold. The walk from the hotel to the Meredith headquarters and my editors – lovely, all – believing in the redemptive quality of stories.

And I am remembering the times so long ago now, when I wished for just-one-thing to ensure absolute happiness. Of course that thing never came and so I spent my time waiting and wishing.

I don’t do that anymore, though I wish it hadn’t been so long since my last weekend at Peg’s. No, today, I have everything I need, everything I want, and even far more. And the best part of it all – is that gratitude has arrived with the birdsong, that and an understanding that we are all on a path toward realization, toward higher purpose, toward bliss.

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