“Be Thankful for What You Got” is a song I remember well from the mid-1970s, when I was growing up in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.
The song still evokes a deep upwelling of awe and gratitude, as the pandemic and other roller coasters continually reconfigure what we once called “normal” in our everyday lives.
Celebrating my youngest niece’s wedding on the Outer Banks last month was a indelible gift, highlight and special occasion for everyone there in person and in spirit. Friends and family members who hadn’t seen each other for some time gathered to celebrate Peyton and Preston’s union, and bless the beginning of their new life chapter and journey together.
I’ve also been thankful for this autumn’s peace, calm and quiet. Since October, we’ve alternated between warm spells (in the 40s F, sunny and calm winds as we might define it in Montana) and freeze/thaw cycles accompanied by rain, snow, ice and graupel. It’s been a blessing not to be breathing the persistent, pervasive wildfire smoke countless people endured from July into September, and welcoming snow and colder temperatures in early December as well.
I am grateful for community on so many levels.
The kindness of strangers at busy traffic intersections and supermarket checkout lines, and the pure joy I witnessed a few weeks ago outside the Missoula County Courthouse, where good Samaritans distributed winter clothing and other necessities to people in need ahead of Montana’s longest season. The hushed excited whispering of a boy to his mother as they walked past a man with a snowy white beard in downtown Missoula: “Was that Santa Claus?”
I am also thankful for the beauty, magic, inspiration and bounty of the natural world, and the gifts that it freely bestows when we take time to stop, slow down, listen and receive what it freely has to share.
I am especially thankful for Erik, our friends, our blended and extended families, and our semi-sweet cat Ren. For people worldwide engaged in the cooperative, brave and bold work required to build healthy, sustainable, just and equitable communities.
For everyone we haven’t been able to see and hang out with the past two years, please know that Erik and I have been thinking about you and wishing you well during this time. We’re looking forward to catching up on the other side of the pandemic, and there will certainly be much to catch up about.
In the meantime, here’s wishing you a wonderful, peaceful and enjoyable holiday and soon to be winter season, and thanks for being part of a community that cares deeply about everyone and everything with whom we share this planet!