Giving Thanks


            It always arrives in the heart of November, always comes at a time when we are saying goodbye to the riches of summer and are watching the trees lose the last of their color in preparation for winter.

This year, a year that came with fistfuls of both joy and sorrow, it seems fitting that I ponder the meaning of Thanksgiving.

So, first, I am thankful for family. Family is the bedrock of my life, a source of present joy and future hopes. Not only a comfort and a source of humor and surprise, it is also a keeper of those memories that will last far into the days to come.

Next and very important, are friends. Being an only child, I suspect that I have always yearned for siblings—and in my dearest friends I have found them: friends who are so close to mind and heart that we know each other to the bones; friends who can be called upon in the dead of night in times of need; kindred spirits with whom I can laugh and talk and debate and enjoy the moment to its fullest. Also there are those friends of whom I stand a little in awe—people I admire and appreciate for all the wonderful qualities I wish I had.

Then—wonderful and everywhere is the natural world. Sunrise and sunset, ocean and mountain, moonrise and the great mysteries of space—I give thanks for them all just as I am grateful for each season; spring with its promise of life, exuberant summer, the glories of fall, and the sleepy silence of winter that restores the heart.

Those new buds of spring

Waiting for warmth to open…

The earth is reborn.

But wait—that’s not all.  I am really thankful for the natural world’s unsung heroes. Earthworms for instance, those wriggly, rubbery things that are on top of the  robins’ menu are really superheroes, for they enrich the soil from which all good things grow. I feel (a qualified) gratitude for the caterpillars that devour my parsley because what would we do in a world without butterflies?  I love those cheery crickets that chirp in the autumn and, yes, even the noisy cicadas, because they make the most of their days in the sun and remind me to do the same. And mosquitoes—no, here I draw the line. There are limits to my gratitude.

Most of all I am very thankful for life. As each day of each month of each year passes, the gift of life becomes more precious. So, in this season of giving thanks, I raise my glass high and cry, much as Tevye did in Fiddler On the Roof… To life!

On this festive day

Watching trees bend and dance

And dancing with them.



About Maureen C. Wartski

I’m Maureen Wartski, writer, artist, wife, mother, grandmother; you can see that I have many of the bases covered. I was born in Ashiya, Japan, a (then) small town which lay cradled between sea and mountains. In the evenings, we would walk along the road that ran past Osaka Bay, and a great moon would rise out of the water to turn the world to silver. I’m told that my first words were, “Big moon!” All my life I have felt the tug to write something, draw something, put together something with fabric, string and color, and the urge to create has grown through the years. I suppose, then, that it’s a natural thing that this blog be full of the things that so many of you enjoy doing…drawing, making something with fabric, and writing. Yuri's Brush with Magic, my newest book for middle schoolers follows the adventures of a brother and sister, the magic of words, and the incredible magic of the natural world. I'd love to hear from you! You can send me a note at: My blog is here: Or friend me on Facebook!

10 responses »

  1. As we still grieve for our dear departed friend, Maureen, I am ever more thankful, really filled with gratitude for my dearest friends with whom I can communicate without saying a word and with whom I feel so spiritually connected. You give voice to what is within me as no-one else can or does. Your love of people, nature, and myself in particular is a gift that keeps on giving, Much love to you and Mike. Fran

  2. Hi Maureen,
    I laughed out loud when you drew the line at mosquitoes. I’m also trying to envision your dance of choice. Is there one favorite for dancing along with the falling leaves and bending trees or I should envision a favorite mix?

  3. Dear Maureen,
    I love reading your words. They are like poetry in motion and very delightful to read and visualize. It’s amazing all the work that animals and people do that we do not notice much. Our unsung heroes.
    Thank you for sharing your words and art with us your humble readers.

    Love you.

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