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Crowson: Gratitude

Perhaps there’s a natural impulse we have, maybe from way back in our earlier evolution, to pay special attention to the negatives. Stay alert. There was a tiger in a clump of grass last week. Could be one in that one over there. A dark cloud brought troublesome weather. Is that another dark cloud forming in the west? Expect the worst in order to survive the next threat.

Man, do I ever fall into that trap. This past Sunday I obsessed on the clumps of grass that could be hiding more horrible news about the president. I saw clouds that put me in mind of the burning Amazon rainforest and our planet’s dire circumstances.

Then I got slapped by an innocuous little thing called gratitude. Gratitude? Who has time for gratitude? The planet’s on fire! Our political system is in blazes! But a wisp of a woman named Jenny Wood pulled a curtain of love down over my absorption with fear.

The singer who miraculously survived a nightmarish car accident months ago, summoned the strength to warble and whistle away negativity. She did it on a stage at Bartlett Arboretum in Belle Plaine. Her gratitude and love were as palpable as the soft grass, the gentle Kansas breeze, and the comforting trees around us.

I felt gratitude that humans have the ability to overcome adversity, to love and to share that love. I’ll go back to fearing tigers and clouds, of course. But I hope I’ll remember not to let the soft, sweet song of gratitude get drowned out.

Richard Crowson is not only a editorial commentator for KMUW. He's also a cartoonist, an artist and a banjo player.