I slipped on black ice yesterday (this was written in early January). It's a wonder I didn't break my back or wrench my neck. I'm hardly sore except for the bruise on my back where the stuff in my backpack drove deep into the area around my left kidney. Today, it's settling in on me how grateful I ought to be to be alive. I was hiking up Angel Falls near Bass Lake. It's January. There's little snow, but what snow is there is melting, and, of course, icing up in places. I was walking along a great granite slab that's been cut by the river over the last zillion years. The river screams along this ancient stone chute just a few yards down and to my right. I'd looked up momentarily, when in an instant, I found myself flat on my back and sliding toward the river. I had no time to wonder if I'd broken a bone because I was sliding fast toward the river. Just as suddenly as I fell, I stopped. And that was that.

Once on my feet again, I gingerly checked my bones and muscles, while my son pointed out that had I hit my head on the jagged piece of granite just inches from where I fell, things would have ended a whole lot differently.

Sadly, we too infrequently pause to consider the gift life is and how quickly we can lose what we take for granted.

Intention: Today, I'll breathe, feel the air fill my lungs, let my eyes notice the play of light in the room around me and I'll give thanks for the gift of life itself. This is the beginning of wisdom.