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  • Connor Laubenstein

Gratitude


I woke up this morning with a song to sing. It has no name but “gratitude”: some regards for the habits, vices, and preoccupations I have somehow surrounded myself with. I’ve written down these gratitudes to recall and recant when things are not feeling right, or it is winter, or my feet are sore, or when I get old and ornery. And I hope you sing with me.


Thank you, the crisply trapped 6-iron, floating impossibly higher, higher, higher. That one that makes the cynical, heartless bastards we’ve had to become, disappear for just one second.


Thank you, every pencil, who, when mindlessly chosen from your box of one thousand, turns every swing into an everlasting record of where I was, and who walked alongside me. Thank you, even more, for ceasing to write when score is not what I choose to remember.


Thank you, the burn: that creek I sank to my knees and drank from when the sun destroyed us and I came unprepared.


Thank you magnolia, and tea olive, and juniper. Thank you, climbing wisteria, and spruce, and manzanita, and all of you who push me to get creative when I go way, way right.


Thank you, my smart mouth, who found a home and audience in telling old men what to do. Thank you, those old men for filling my pockets and giving me something to laugh about.


Thank you, the ditches and drainage systems, the hose lines, the precise sprinkler heads and the ones that tell me nothing. Thank you for making me work.


Thank you, as well, the agronomists, the shapeshifters, the ones whose eyes I try desperately to meet—the ones who don’t stop the mower because they know I like the noise. And the smell. Caustic and green, perched so heavily in the air that I feel weightless with it.


Thank you from the bottom of my heart, the ones who wave back. You are wedging the doors wide open.


Thank you, the howling wind. You make us shut the fuck up for a minute. Thank you, even, the driving rain—the 280-horsepower gauntlet that stings my eyes. You are exactly how you ought to be.


Thank you, the forgotten footprints in the sand—the skeletons who remind me I am in miserable company, but in company altogether.


Thank you, the leading edge. I hate you, the leading edge.


Thank you, “oh, yeah” and “woo-woo” and “sit down” and “oh, shit” and “get pretty” and “hold your head” and “give me my money” and “run forever” and “why did you do that”. I am, at once, my most authoritative and mercy-begging with you around.


Even the voiceless ones: thank you, the fist bump, the shoulder shimmy, the wiggle dance, the thigh slap, the putter raise, the electric slide, the get down on your knees and kiss the ground that I’ve made sweet.


Thank you, the early morning dew lines that run toward the hole like collapsed veins. You show me the way, when I’m too tired to decipher meaning from the little twitches and wrinkles.


Thank you, the rocking chair—that white rocking chair off the back of 18, where he sat and remembered what it felt like to make that final putt. You are his chariot, and his conduit to the past.


And thank you, most of all, this device. This faculty of taking something entirely unreasonable and stuffing it with so many friends. So many colors. So many loops, laps, and pit stops. And so many more to come.


Thank you. Every day.