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.