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GRATITUDE IS EASY after you’ve survived a heart attack. First on my list, of course, is life itself — I’m grateful to still be alive. Tied for first is my partner Ruth Einstein, whose love and fortitude keep me going. Without Ruth, my heart beats with less meaning. Next on the list is you.
As I mentioned in my earlier dispatch about this cardiac adventure, your flood of cards and emails far exceeds my ability to respond. I would reach out to each and every one of you, but, hey, the prospect of hundreds of replies only raises my heart rate. So here instead I’ll offer you three hearts from nature — my expression of gratitude to all of you, whether you’ve written to me or not.
But first, at the risk of omitting some, I’m grateful for you older guys who’ve shared survival stories from your very own heart attacks. Not a club I would have voluntarily joined, but its members are resilient and inspiring. Next, my students at UVM are another powerful source of encouragement for me — and for our collective future on this planet. (I’ll have fresh assignments for you soon.) Colleagues at Eagle Hill Institute, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, the Vermont chapter of The Nature Conservancy, North Branch Nature Center, Northern Woodlands, and the Vermont Entomological Society, to name a few, have all reached out; what a privilege to be even a small part of their vital work. And other than being here in Vermont this autumn, I would be in no other place than Monhegan Island, from whose wonderful coastal Maine melting pot I have received such kindness; I will miss you all — and your migrating birds — this fall.
Finally, of course, I owe thanks to all of you who’ve been out with me in nature; your kind support reminds me of the vast diversity of life we’ve shared over the past three decades. We have discovered so much together; let’s discover more.
(Read some of this outpouring of support in the comments section of my last blog post. I only wish you could read the notes on all the cards coming to me in the mail here at home.)
So, at long last, here on the blog are three hearts. Above you’ll find a couple of (sideways) aqua-colored hearts on the underside of that Red Admiral. (Thanks to Elinor Osborn for pointing those out to me.) Next are the undertail coverts on a Northern Flicker (courtesy of Marygrace Barber and emailed to me in a nice note from Peg Ackerson). Finally, you’ll find red hearts along the abdomen of a Calico Pennant dragonfly.