The bittersweet wistfulness of late fall is a good time to reflect, appreciate, and be grateful. It is connected with the traditions of harvest, the feel and smell of autumn, the awareness that cold winter is approaching. All the senses come alive with foggy mornings, trees baring their arms, the last warm moonlit nights, the cessation of summer’s buoyancy.
Thanksgiving is also associated, for me, with a break from routine – the first trip home from college, the warm hospitality of kin, reunions with friends. It’s less hectic than Christmas, and not so cold that a profusion of light is needed (although a fire is very lovely).
This year, we’ve all been pretty sick, and we aren’t going anywhere. It’s a low-key day, a relaxing one. I’ve got some chores to do, but everything is simple and sweet. All is prepared for the meal, and it isn’t a huge feast. I like it.
It’s a great year to withdraw a little, to allow my mind to wander, and to celebrate my own little family. It’s a good time for introspection and introversion. I would not be good company in a group this year. I’m grateful that there is no sacrifice to be made, no atonement, no resolution, no gift-wrapping, no grand plan. There will be no arguments, no whining, no politics, no religion, no nationalism, no pointless squabble, no rehashing of disputed histories, no need for diplomacy, no call for forgiveness, no heaviness, no superficiality, no football game to watch. I don’t need to walk on eggshells.
I’m grateful – to the core – for my dear family.
I’m especially grateful that it is so very easy to be proud of my delightful son, and so rewarding to be his mom. I never thought it would be something that suited me, but I was so wrong.
I’m grateful for my kind and smart and understanding (and big and strong) husband. I’m grateful for my daily life: for the welcome-home hug, for the coffee, for dinner that is often served to me, and for the occasional walk in the woods. I’m grateful – really – for intelligent conversations and also for silliness, and for living with someone who thinks I’ve still got it.
I’m grateful for our kitty-cat Molly, who has tamed us, trained us, and let us know just who is in charge.
I’m grateful for some of the most wonderful friends that anyone could wish for, and for the spirit-sisters and soul-brothers that mean more to me than they might appreciate. You know who you are (and you know who you’re not).
I’m grateful for my brothers Roy and Michael – and their families. I love my nephews Dylan and Eric and David, and you are great Dads.
I’m grateful for my Mom, and especially for those moments when we really connect.
I’m grateful for my uncles and aunts. My Uncle Ronnie has been there for me my entire life – and he holds a special place in my heart.
I’m grateful to have been able to get to know my Dad’s brothers and sisters better over time, and that nothing but actual distance separates us. I love you Joyce and Elaine and Roberta and Gail and especially Jerry, who is so like and so unlike my Dad.
I’m grateful for all my cousins (and there are a lot of them!). You are so funny Mark, you are so dear Allen, you are so lucky Paul. I’m especially grateful for my beautiful, intelligent, grounded, caring woman-cousins. You make me smile – a lot. You are astounding women in your own right, and you’re great mommies too! You – Kim and Jillian and Micaela and Aletta and Kirsten and Katie and Dawn are stars in my universe. The cousin-spouses are wonderful – you’ve chosen well.
I’m grateful for the cousin-kiddies: Zaqq and Jynessica and Alex and Katie and Olivia and Grace and Paige and Devin and Brooke and Douglas, and Shelby, Hunter, and Zach, and Ethan, and Taylor, and and .. awww… this family sure did reproduce well! I don’t think I’ve listed anywhere near…
I’m grateful too for my in-law families. Tommy and Pam, Steve and Pat, Laura – and yes – John (I hope I’m still your favorite left-winger). All their kin are my kin too.
I love my nephew JT and his dear wife Tonya, and I love my nephew Lance. I remain hopeful that bridges will yet appear, and I have faith that all misunderstandings will be unraveled and healed.
I’m grateful to have found an odd kind of respect for and friendship with my hubby’s ex-wife Paula. I’m grateful for the caring love between my stepson and son. I’m grateful for some good discussions and fun with my stepson Evan, and I know that all difficulties will heal in time.
I’m grateful that I have a job, and that it’s a good job with a company that I respect. I’m grateful that I have amazing colleagues there: smart, fun, and sometimes even annoying. I love them all.
I’m grateful that I am able to live in a house, especially one with a back deck that looks out to the woods. I love to watch the sunsets and the moonrises and the birds, and the trees. I love to sit outside here and feel that we’re miles from anywhere.
I’m grateful that I have “a room of my own” – the private space that is my office and the private space of my mind/heart/spirit. I’m grateful too for interconnectivity – for the telephone, and the internet, and yes, for Facebook.
I’m grateful that my car is somehow still running, and I’m grateful for the new furnace. I’m grateful too for a good vacuum cleaner. It sounds silly, unless you’ve lived without one.
I’m grateful for music, which so often takes me “where my heart wants to go.”
I’m grateful for books – both material and electronic. They have enlarged my imagination, taught me critical skills, expanded my ability to navigate, and allowed me the possibility to imagine things and people and paths differently. I love the heavy books, and I love the candy books too.
I’m grateful for my mentors and teachers, without whom I would have been lost. I’ve been so fortunate in having such excellent guides and friends throughout my life.
I’m grateful for adversaries, too; sometimes you are great teachers.
I’m grateful for the absence of some folks from my life, too.
I’m grateful for humor and laughter, for celebrations, tricksters and court jesters.
I’m grateful for invented vocabularies, for wordplay and codes and abbreviations, and for just the right amount of teasing and sarcasm.
I’m grateful for conversations, and for silence.
I’m grateful to be welcomed in, and grateful too for sweet farewells.
I’m grateful for alone time.
I’m grateful for moments of insight, for mutual understanding, a shared joke, a spirit-communion, for wit and also for deep, abiding love.
I’m grateful for high bandwidth.
I’m grateful for moments that are forever suspended in time.
I’m grateful for every kindness that I see, no matter how small it might seem.
I’m grateful for those who bring out the best in others.
I’m grateful for authenticity and trust.
I’m grateful for what means nothing and still means everything.
I’m grateful for hugs.
I’m grateful for everything I can see, smell, touch, feel, hear, taste and imagine.
I’m grateful that I’ve become more grateful, and that the smallest detail can sometimes bring such joy.
I’m grateful for the microscope, and the telescope, and for the ability to scope.
I’m grateful for the cosmos, and starlight, and especially for the moon – and for what points toward it.
I’m grateful for all of the manifestations that point to the divine and the sacred, and for the playfulness they evoke/invoke in me.
I’m grateful for meditations, for the elements, for the directions, for all the rich tapestries of life.
I’m grateful for language, for paradox, for metaphor, for the rules of civil discourse and the visionary transports of poetry.
I’m grateful for everything, and for nothingness, and for the sweet spots where order and chaos meet in beauty.
I’m grateful for the presence of Love, and for the grace that I receive.
Thank you, deity/deities.
Thank you, cosmos.
Thank you, our reality-niche.
Thank you, family.
Thank you, friends.
Thank you, body and heart and mind and spirit.
Thank you, Love.
“If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ that will suffice.” ~ Meister Eckhart