If you don’t write it down on a pretty slip of paper and put it in a jar

does it still count?

If it’s not penned in a Moleskin journal with your name embossed on the cover

or expressed to one friend

or a million

does it still count?

What if you just feel it and experience it with Her?

Just you and Nature?

And you don’t tell anyone because She already knows

that you feel it

and know it

and live it

and you let it wash over you

because you’re strong enough with a vulnerability so deep that you are on your knees

on a random walk with your dog

as you watch the mountains turn pink then purple as the sun lets go

and you listen to the coyote’s howl

and your dog points her paw to protect you

and you kneel with her as her heart races

and you listen and watch Nature

and feel Gratitude so deep there aren’t words

for the jars

or the journals

there are just the feelings right then in the moment

and the world stops as Gratitude surrounds you and She joins in

and sings with the coyotes

and dances with the setting sun

and welcomes the moon

and you don’t think about it

or even try

because Gratitude isn’t something you have to remember to feel

or do

or write down

it’s just there

with every breath and every step you take.

And as you breathe the crisp air

and listen to the sounds

and absorb the magic colors of the skies

and feel your little dog’s heartbeat

you realize you no longer need the jar

or the journal

because Gratitude is part of every inhale and exhale.

And that realization brings tears to your eyes as you recognize a level of Gratitude you never knew existed.

The kind you don’t have to think about.

The kind that one day you realize is simply there.

Part of you.

Just like your DNA

and your blue eyes.

and your blonde hair.

And then it rushes like a tidal wave and washes over you and you can barely stay upright

because you see

and feel

that the thing you’ve worked to obtain, to name and claim is no longer outside of you.

Gratitude is inside of you.

It is you.

It has become you.

And Ego doesn’t stand a chance and for once doesn’t try.

And then you get it.

As they howl

and her heart beats so fast in fear with her little paw pointed in protection

and you notice the dirt on your knees

and the sky surrounding you with love

and the smell of the sun and the moon

and the Hum so oddly industrial yet comforting

and you get it.

And somehow for that moment, it all makes sense.

And no, you don’t have to write it down.

It still counts.