Several ways to play this one I suppose. Could go with a time-tested listing of things I’m thankful for. Could have a go at a satirical listing of things I’d like to be thankful for. Maybe take a run at a list of things one might guess the other critters on the planet could be thankful for [liking that last one – however could they complain in the comments section??] But why choose? What say we mash up a bunch of Thanksgiving graces we’re happy for, wishing for, and anthropomorphizing for? And if the spirit strikes you, please take a shot and offer a few of your own in the comments below. Game on.
So first off, I’m thankful for spell checkers that allow me to have a stab at “anthropomorphizing” without really being that smart.
I’m very thankful for family. And let’s be quite inclusive here. A biological family such as mine is a tremendous blessing all by itself. There are hundreds of people living within a day’s drive who are immediate family, in-laws, first cousins and their immediate kin. But there is also the ‘family’ of fellow travelers we consider friends and close acquaintances: co-workers, colleagues, neighbors, and so forth. The cornucopia of our personal networks is a great gift – and one that for me at least has continued to expand with time, even as a few members are lost to death.
I’m also very thankful for this honest to goodness government we have in the US right now. You know, the one headed by people who really know the difference between facts and fabrications. And it’s quite refreshing to have leaders who are respected across the globe for their modesty and realistic sense of self. They are so admirably adroit too – able to express complex policy in 140 characters or less. So refreshing it has reminded me of a Brian Oldfield quote:
No man is entirely worthless, he can always serve as a bad example.
I’m thankful for the little challenges in life. You know, the ones you can do something about in less time then it takes to get utterly depressed by not solving them. And I need to add onto this one the gift of a bit of patience so that not every challenge fits the unsolvable category. Solving your problems as they present themselves may seem an exercise in whack-a-mole… but the sense of accomplishment they bring along needs to be savored. Really big challenges need to be taken apart so you can solve individual pieces and not lose heart.
I’m thankful for all the little critters we don’t normally see in our day-to-day lives. The one’s that decay our waste and recycle it so we can keep on with life. True, some of these little beasties try to make things decay before we’re ready for their help. But if you want to find a reason to be thankful for them too… consider they’re part of the little challenges from the last paragraph. After all, if it weren’t for a lactobacillus to spoil some milk, where would be get sour milk coffee cake? But what about plant pathogens? Small critters, yes. Can really have an enormous impact, yes. That conversation ends for me when I offer they represent job security for plant breeders. And some of the plant pathogens are edible… bonus.
I’m thankful for Mother Nature in general. She does so many marvelous things it leaves me in awe. Those pesky little critters just start the parade. Look at the beautiful fauna and flora. They’re magnificent. As we and our fellow man despoil parts of this blue marble she just keeps on dealing with us. I think humankind is what Mother Nature is thankful for on Thanksgiving. We’re one of those little challenges. She does seem to be playing whack-a-mole with us. A hurricane here, an earthquake there. Drought, Ebola, HIV… she is something, no? But the sun comes up tomorrow, and what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
I’m so thankful the great weather we’ve experienced here the eastern soybean belt of the US this fall. Just as it dries out enough to get back into the fields it rains again. This is one of those challenges I spoke of above. It builds character. Those tiny little rotting critters, they love all this rain. I’m happy for them. And on the matter of character building – I could use more character. We all could. Even our fantastic leaders who have a deep and abiding respect for women, and who know deep in their hearts that a tax cut for the wealthy is what the world needs now.
####### The featured image at the top of this post is from last May – phlox in bloom along the Little Darby Creek in Madison County OH… at the edge of a little farm I’m also very thankful for. Mother Nature and I share this one.