I took a sudden dislike to this prayer. I had no interest in agriculture, and the idea of a vengeful God was one reason I didn't set foot in a synagogue for twenty years. So I sat on my folding chair as everyone mumbled, and I wondered how to restore the helium to my heart.
I forced myself to read the paragraph a few more times, and finally noticed an image that made sense. It was now autumn, October, and today was sunny--but it might rain tomorrow. And it would certainly rain in the spring. Rain screwed up the subways, and sun meant air conditioning and a ridiculous bill. I had little patience for either. And so, in order to remain focused on the usual stresses that consumed my day, I paid little attention to the weather. The same held true for my perception of trees, food on the table, and being born healthy and free in the twentieth century. I had too much on my mind to give extra thought to these extraordinary strokes of luck. Maybe the prayer was saying that these gifts might as well disappear if I continued to ignore them. Not that God would take them away, but that my life would be flat and empty in absence of an awareness of how marvelous they really were.
Maybe I was stretching things, but this idea made it possible for me to finish reading the Shema.