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By LEWIS RICHMOND
Gratitude is a welcome antidote to aging’s inevitable losses,
and recently—on the occasion of my sixty-sixth birthday—I decided to put the
gratitude walk into practice. I chose a hiking path that bordered a marshland
creek, which due to recent construction continued on a wooden walkway built
over wetlands at the edge of San Francisco Bay. Starting out, I saw a blue jay
burying some treasure, storing supplies for the coming winter. Blue jays can
remember thousands of such hiding places; they have the best memories of any
birds. I thought, “treasure,” and then I remembered: my social security
payments would be starting next month. I was happy about that. I had worked a
whole lifetime for my benefits and had weathered some serious illnesses along
the way: gratitude!
A Zen Buddhist priest, Lewis Richmond is the author of Aging
as a Spiritual practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser.