Melancholic Gratitude:There’s a Word for That

Portland Japanese Garden

Alone at my writing desk on Thanksgiving Eve, a subtler, somewhat sadder kind of gratitude has crept in like a sacred fog. Confronted by the bombastic exuberance of #gratitude! posts buzzing in my Facebook newsfeed, I’m should-ing myself to feel a livelier, louder sense of abundance.

Yet there’s beauty here, too.

In this soft, tender-aching kind of love, a richer — perhaps darker, perhaps deeper — kind of gratitude expands my heart and de-cobwebs my mind.

Not surprisingly, there’s a word for that.

I recall this passage in Jane Hirshfield’s stunning collection of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry:

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