30 Things I Love Right Now by Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis
1. Paint swatches. The names and bookmark shape of them. The endless particular color.
2. My penchant for threes. Lists. Three times ten and so on.
3. Fostering cats. It feels like an important thing that I have been meaning to do all of my life.
4. Feeling connected the country I live in and yes, I do love it when I wake up in the morning and Barack Obama is president.
5. The end of political ads for awhile. Living in Ohio means my vote means so much. Living in Ohio means that we are being wooed, solicited,courted, stalked and harassed by political rhetoric during election years.
6. The deer wandering the yard this morning. The miracle of antlers–how are they so treeish and elegant? How to carry so much organic chandelier around and still stay so graceful and stately?
7. The doe and the fawn, too. The bound made over our firewood.
8. That a fallen ash tree has already yielded two grave markers for our beloved kitties and some stools for sitting around the firepit.
9. Last night, I received a miniature rose plant for the election night. And a beer cozy. That odd, silly combo made my night.
10. Indian-spiced Roast Chicken. We rocked that dish around here. Can’t wait for leftovers.
11. That when the leaves fall of the trees around here–so vibrant and so missed–they give back the view of the reservoir. There is something so profound about that relinquishing and the gifts every season presents.
12. My niece and my nephew. They inspire a whole new set of feelings in me that I didn’t know I had. Also, major gratitude and delight, those too.
13. My niece’s mood ring eyes and my nephew’s giant, sparkling dark eyes that signal his mischief the same way that my daddy’s do.
14. Peace. I never knew I had it in me.
15. Directed restlessness. I write, I teach with a certain raw energy that I used to misuse on my heart and soul.
16. A savings account. Years of feeling bad about my fiscal shakiness make me feel proud of my modest savings.
17. My sisters: each with their own perfect-fit dovetail into different parts of my soul. It’s a perfection, really.
18. Birdfeeders. The frenetic affections they inspire.
19. Eggshell, buttery cream, even beige, my much-maligned color. I am learning to enjoy quiet hues and really appreciate them: in people, in colors.
20. Teaching. The various ways it saves me and ignites me. That love that I have for a whole class or a sense of connection with individual students.
21. The college where I work. It breathes art.
22. An owl propped in a tree made of cantaloupe and gorgeous plumes of purple lettuce. At my school, of course.
23. Early winter when I begin composing soups in my mind like poems.
24. Sunlight on early winter-bare trees, especially the white bark of the sycamore.
25. Cowboy boots with red roses embroidered on their toes.
26. Walks in brisk weather.
27. How to list friendship without sounding corny? More and more, I just feel deep gratitude for my friends. There is so much trouble one must face in this world and friends really do help carry those burdens.
28. A bed heavy with quilts, each faded and patterned in their own way.
29. Chipmunks and their striped sartorial savvy.
30. Stoneware bowls, the sandy-heft and grit of them. The glassy glaze that always lets the pottery push through.
A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Ariana-Sophia M. Kartsonis received an M.F.A. from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati. Sophia is an assistant professor of Liberal Arts and Graduate Studies at Columbus College of Art and Design, where she teaches fiction writing, poetry writing, contemporary literature, and special topic literature. Her collection of poetry, Intaglio, won the 2005 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and was published by Kent State University Press. Her work has appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Florida Review, Glimmer Train, Margie, and other journals. She edits the online journal wordsonwalls.net.
[PS: As a few of Sophia’s 30 things might indicate, this list is circa Nov. 7.]