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



28 thoughts on “In Gratitude

    1. Miigwetch, Jeff. I am grateful for your astute, thought-provoking analyses, as well as your compassionate heart. I appreciate all I have learned from you.


  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

    1. 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 …)


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