Gratitude List From Scotland, Where I Broke My Writing Arm

1. Thank you Carl for teaching me about love, for being completely supportive & non-threatened by a wife who needs to range. When I snapped my radius on a remote island in the inner Hebrides, thank you for saying, “Fail early and often,” for hugging me, for slicing my bacon, for standing on the 3.5 hour train between Oban and Glasgow so that I could sit, for saying, “She’s a writer” to the dreamy NHS doctors, even though I earn a living through other talents.

2. Thank you body for being resilient and terribly bruised.

3. Thank you Northern Irish Woman who drunk-bandaged me after midnight and got help. Your name flew into the pain ether. Your face is a blur. I wish I could remember more.

4. Thank you Swiss Backpackers and English Business Man who sat with me on the train from Oban to Glasgow. It was fun to talk with you about the existence, or non-existence, of Scottish mountains, Trump, and Brexit.

5. Thank you Dreamy NHS Doctors for treating me like a human, for touching me with kindness, care, and decency, for the laughing gas. I am used to narcissistic American physicians. Your to-the-bone empathy is a necessary paver on my road to healing.

6. Thank you Good Women of Marks & Spencer for looking at my arm and asking, “What happened?” with such tenderness & then listening with interest to my tale. You’ve saved me $30 per week in therapy Skype sessions.

7. Thank you rain for not getting in my plaster.

8. Thank you sun for holding out as long as you could.

9. Thank you Herring Gulls for not eating me.

10. Thank you dearhearts from long ago who shared meals and meandering walks and deep vulnerable conversations. Life is long, but love is longer. I cherish you.

11. Thank you thistles for being the toughest everloving flowers.

12. Thank you stranger who tied my shoes in a downpour along Perth Road today.

13. Thank you seaside. Thank you fields. Thank you rocks.

14. Thank you Rebel Writers for the red lipstick and the fierceness and the sacristy rendition of “Country Roads.” Virginia Woolf would be so proud.

15. Thank you strangers for opening my water bottles and my snacks.

16. Thank you Willow Tea Rooms for granting me refuge, truth, beauty.

17. Thank you Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh. I am still obsessed with you.

18. Thank you Merchant City for not stealing my phone.

19. Thank you Dennistoun for being REAL.

20. Thank you Scotland for receiving me once more. I broke an essential writing bone on you, after midnight, at a sacred pilgrimage site. Clearly, this means we are bound up in something grand and cosmic. Or life is random chaos and a little dumbassedry. Does it matter? Can we let the mystery be?

21. Dearest Scotland, I love you truly, unromantically, and with great consciousness. I will hasten back.

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