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Boreal Community Media

GRATEFUL: An essay by local Cook County author John A. Bragstad

Mar 09, 2023 10:08AM ● By Content Editor

Photo: Federico Di Dio photography 

Author: John Bragstad - Boreal Community Media - March 9, 2023

WINTER WEARING ON. How is it for you? "Grateful" was written one year ago / at the height of our misery. I've read as a people, we are a  lot angrier now as a people, a lot more impatient. What antidote can life afford us? 

POETRY MAY NOT BE your thing (some don't even recognize free verse as poetry) but possibly this will encourage you, even in the depth of winter’s stubborn hold.  

Like mist, our sense of thanks can drift away. 
We lose perspective. We forget we are blessed. 
We allow ourselves to be trampled by the 
ever on-going rush of living. 

We become consumed rather than consumers. 
Hearts not aware of how much we have. 
Rather, it is what we lack. Or we ever-dance 
to detail. Bounty unrealized. Unnoticed in the flood. 

Gratitude for life, Gratitude for the opportunity of choice. 
Gratitude for love. For the moments to love. Gratitude for times past, 

Gratitude for simple things. Basic things. 
For elemental things. For fire, food, friends. 
For touch, sight, hearing. For passion to care. 
For grief that touches on love. 

We squander away the hours, often dulled, 
unaware of the festival of light, the ocean waters 
in which we swim. 

To be released is what we yearn for. To be freed is 
gratitude’s invitation to the dance. Make us draw 
deeply from the well of what this world offers.

We thank you for sight. But are amazed at the optics of beauty we see. 
Gratitude waits for when the thank-you grows silent. 
When words depart. It alights when we are filled 
with amazement, toppled by the unexpected, 
caught up in the wild ceilidh of life and of living. 

Gratitude lives in the bones. Gratitude is the 
singer of songs but can never be the song. 
Gratitude is second-cousin to Mystery. 

Gratitude waits 
for the wolf
to finally howl 
at the moon. 

From a book in progress:  

Sojourners of the Spirit

About the author

John A. Bragstad has been a therapist, working with couples and individuals, for 25 years. He is self-published and is enjoying retirement. Lake Superior is just off his front porch.

He has written three books: Compass Season, Loon Laughter at Midnight, and Who's Watching Whoo? They are available in Grand Marais at Drury Lane and Lake Superior Trading Post, or at

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