Today I want to share with the world some of the things I am thankful for. Too often I don’t take the time to acknowledge or remember the people and things that make my life beautiful. Today is an artificial moment to do this, and growing up, we never celebrated this “holiday.” It’s not that we weren’t thankful for things. I think we were, but we didn’t do anything on this awkward Thursday holiday.
For 35 years, I celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. It seemed to matter to them. But I never felt all that thankful on those endless trips to Long Island. It always felt cold, and gray and stifling, and oh, so very November when we went there. My husband’s mother passed last winter, so there is no one left on Long Island to command our visit. So the first thing that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving is that I do not have to travel – anywhere. No car to pack, no cats to figure out food for, no worries about poisoned turkey, no traffic. It is such a relief to actually be able to enjoy a day off from routine without the travel.
Not traveling is immediate, but there are real and meaningful things that I am thankful for every day.
I am thankful for my husband of 35 years; of the support he provides and the grounding presence he is in my life. There are so many things he has given me that I would never have known if I had not been with him.
I am thankful for my many circles of friends. Many of them overlap, but I have circles that are separate from other circles and I’m thankful for that, too. Some of my circles: yogis, quilters, dancers, Lawyers Helping Lawyers, artists, slightly removed family members, NOFA, gardeners, Jaguars, hunters and gathers, fire ceremony folks, concert-goers, cat people, “hooters,” the Munay-ki, legal affairs alumni, hypnotists, hikers and backpackers, Facebook Friends, energy workers, retirees. All of these circles feed aspects of my personality and life force. I cherish each group and hope that I give back to each as much as they give to me.
I am thankful that I live in the northeastern United States, where we have four seasons (or five, if you add “Mud”) where weather can change in a minute, and always keeps me wondering what clothes to wear today, and what clothes to carry with me in case I guessed wrong. I am thankful for the snow and stars of winter; for the flowers, rain and green of spring; for the warm winds, the parade of growing things, the sweltering heat and long days of summer; the brilliant colors, the harvest and huge moons of autumn. I am thankful for the endless wheel of the seasons.
I am thankful that I have health insurance, enough to eat, good shelter, plenty of clothing, comfort and ease. So many do not have these things, or if they have, do not have enough. I bless those who do not have enough and I wish them happiness, peace, freedom from fear and want, good health.
I am thankful that I am able to travel. In my life, so far, I have visited Europe three times, the Caribbean once, Peru once, China once, Canada too many times to count. I have driven from my home in upstate New York to Key West, and from San Francisco to the Atlantic Ocean, although these great distances were never in a single trip, but a linking together of interstates 81, 91 and 95, and almost all of the bits of I-10. I have been to San Francisco a half-dozen times, New Orleans a dozen, and the desert southwest about a dozen. I have been to music festivals in the Berkshires, New Orleans, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Green County, New York, and heard music of all kinds everywhere I have gone.
I am thankful for music. From Tanglewood with my grandparents, to the Metropolitan Opera, to the Glen Miller Orchestra, to Miles Davis, to the Grateful Dead, to Bruce Springsteen, to Jesus Christ Superstar, to all the blue grass, all the jazz, all the classical, all the world music, all the chant. Music – Thank you.
I am thankful for the technology that makes my life easy. Electricity, television, the internet, the batteries in my watch, the laptop I type on, my sewing machine. The frost-free refrigerator and freezer. The automatic programmable thermostats. My digital camera (although I do miss how beautiful photographs taken on film are by comparison). The remote weather station. The bed warmer and the air conditioner. My cell phone and the landline phone. Antibiotics and the other medicines without which I would not now be alive. I just wish more people were able to have access to more of these things that make my life easy.
I am thankful for every cat that has shared my home with me. There are so many because I have lived so much longer than they. But each one has had something to teach me, something to share with me, and each one, even the difficult ones, has enriched my life.
I am thankful that my surrendered daughter sought me out and tried to make a relationship with me. I am thankful that my late sister became my friend before passing on 34 years ago. I am thankful that I grew up with my parents and grandparents and my neighbors and neighborhood, notwithstanding that the lessons I received from most of them were painful and difficult.
I am thankful that I just got home from dinner with friends where we ate some turkey, and some mashed potatoes, and some gravy, and some cranberry sauce, and some roodaboogadoos (doesn’t that sound better than “rutabagas?”), and some homemade pickles, and some homemade applesauce, and some salad, and some apple pie, and some of that pumpkin cheesecake with praline topping and whipped cream. . . And watched some football.
I am thankful for the magic that allows me to post these words and thoughts out into the universe for anyone to read, and am thankful that people are reading these words. God bless you every one! Happy Thanksgiving, 2013.