And speaking of gratitude, this is the time of year when I start busting out the old gratitude journal.
I know! Potential cheesiness!
But here's the deal. As the days shorten, my brain starts feeling like a sponge full of spreading black ink.
I hate that my brain feels this way, because it's just so stupid and also lame. Clearly, autumn is a splendid time of year, full of colored leaves and caramel apples and cute guys trotting around in shoulder pads. I want to savor the season instead of going, "Oh no! The Twilight of the Gods is just around the corner!"
(For those of you who weren't in Miss Nelson's senior English class, Twilight of the Gods refers to the Viking belief that every one of their major gods Thor, Loki, Odin, all four members of ABBA would eventually freeze to death and die.)
Vikings! Always looking on the bright side!
Anyway. I do what I can to dispel the gathering gloom. Run a lot. Read P.G. Wodehouse. Sit under lights to trick my brain into thinking the days are longer, because apparently you can trick brains like that, thus making them a supremely stupid organ.
And I keep a daily gratitude journal to remind myself how very fortunate I really am.
Sometimes it can be hard to generate a list. I remember one day in January when the only thing I could come up with was this: "I'm grateful I'm not Prince Charles because then I would be married to Camilla who, according to the National Enquirer, is not overly scrupulous about changing her underwear."
Most days, however, I can reel off a much, much longer list. In fact, watch me do it right now!
Today I am happy for these things great and small: October light slanting through my bedroom window. A garden full of roses still in bloom. Late crickets. Squash baking in the oven. A Red Sox-free World Series (sorry, Kiel). Cheeseburgers with raw onions. A stack full of TBR detective novels. Pictures of my kids everywhere I look. Email. Handwritten snail mail.
But wait! There's more! Dogs. Dogs with warm coats because they've been lounging in the sun. Cats that purr just because you look at them. TV friends old (Alicia Florrick, Ron Swanson, pretty much the entire cast of "Modern Family") and new (that awesomely crazy girl on "Revenge" who's out to get everybody who lives in the Hamptons). Real live friends. The improving health of a son. Sunday Night Football (although my Eagles! WHAT?!). Instant access to all kinds of music. Morning radio. Hardcopy newspapers. Newspaper readers.
And, of course, the in-laws and the outlaws and everyone else who's family.
See how it works? I'll feel better soon. And if I don't, I'll feel better in the spring. You can take that to the bank.
Ann Cannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/columnistcannon