In Gratitude

Carol A. Hand

Although the polar vortex has returned, I awoke on this frigid sunny morning to a clear blue sky. As I looked toward the sky, the rays of the rising sun turned the bare branches of trees to gold. I was filled with a sense of gratitude for friends new and old who have helped me remain hopeful during the long cold winter. It has been a time of learning and a time of loss. I was reminded of a poem I read long ago.


Duluth, MN – February 25, 2014

Comes the Dawn
(by Veronica A. Shoffstall)

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today,
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down mid-flight.
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn…
With every goodbye you learn.

In the spring, I will plant my gardens again because you have all given me hope. You have opened my eyes to new truths, inspired me with your courage and commitment to making the world a better place, and touched my heart with your kindness, depth and beauty. Chi Miigwetch for all that you share (Ojibwe for thank you very much).


Duluth, MN – August 13, 2013


Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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28 Responses to In Gratitude

  1. nicciattfield says:

    Thank you for sharing that! It’s lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, Carol. So this is your new blog? I was missing your posts. And you live in Duluth? I have fond, early childhood memories of Duluth. Again, we are connected. Chi Miigwetch

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Glad to have met and connected with you, Carol. Never stop planting…spring will always come.


  4. cindy knoke says:

    Just beautiful!


  5. Reblogged this on Voices from the Margins and commented:

    Once again, in the frigid beauty and cold of February, in another time of transition, I find myself grateful for many things and hopeful about the times to come


  6. Joan Treppa says:

    This is lovely Carol. You have certainly always reciprocated with inspiration and hope and lots of encouragement. In my world, one is doomed to give up on those things. With each new victory, as in spring, comes a new emergence of life.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. smilecalm says:

    thanks for sharing such hope
    for spring in frigid times, Carol!
    Wish I could have some winter
    & share the Calif spring weather 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. schuttzie says:

    What a lovely poem and your sentiments! You yourself plant hope and inspiration just as spring always brings it around again. I’m so enjoying your thought provoking blog. Big Ups and Blessings as you pay it forward, dear lady!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love the yard. The summer version. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. mandy smith says:

    That was beautiful, Carol. I, too, am one that struggles terribly with wintertime, and, like you, I think this one has been easier knowing I have my blog community. The words of that poem are certainly worth saving for those rough days. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Patty says:

    What a swell photo of your garden…taken from a view where I almost didn’t recognize it. Of course you will garden again….your spring bulbs are sleeping under the mulch and their imminent birth will delight and inspire you.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ShirleyAnn says:

    I have enjoyed that poem “Comes the Dawn” for a long time..and lost the copy that I had hung on an office wall. Because I did not know the author…I couldn’t find it again. Thank You Carol for using it and know that Comes the Spring…you and your wonderful garden will once more be filled with life and energy ! Your garden is a space of peace and contentment for me and I am looking forward to seeing the blooms emerging in only a few short months. Spring for me is joyful .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your lovely comments, Shirley Ann. I look forward to our garden chats – and maybe tea for three amid the flowers and vegetables!

      (And here’s a hint for finding things on the internet. I just typed in the first line and voila, up it came. I know there’s a copy somewhere in my file cabinets, but I don’t have a clue where it might be …)


  13. yes. thank you. just what i needed at just the right moment. mystical, isn’t it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Reflections about Emotions and Critical Thought | Voices from the Margins

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