What Nature Teaches Me About Being Thankful

It’s a tough time to celebrate Thanksgiving, for sure.

As we sit with our families over a meal, a lot of bad things are going on in this world.  Yes, I am thankful that we aren’t sitting front lines to terrible atrocities happening right now.

As I’m looking back on a pretty tumultuous year for me and my family, I know a lot of great things happened this year too.  Yes, I am thankful for all the blessings we all have had.

As I worry for my daughter growing up in this world everyday, I know she’s been learning and growing with a firm sense of self and wonder.  Yes, I am grateful that she is such a rad kid.

As I know I have been dealing with a lot of personal highs and lows this year.  As I loose friends and learn to cope with a new loneliness, I have also been learning a lot of new things about myself in the process.  Yes, I am thankful for my own personal growth.

I miss my cousins and our family Thanksgivings spent together.

I miss friends that can’t be with me today.

I wish this could be a joining together with everyone to celebrate, but I just am not into pretending like everything is okay right now.

For the first time in my life, I am choosing to spend Thanksgiving outdoors, with a bowl of some turkey chili instead of the usual feast.  I don’t feel like sharing in the holiday spirit.  I don’t feel like overeating, then feeling terrible about myself the next day as I stuff my face with leftovers.  I don’t want to contribute to the capitalist agendas that surround the holiday.

For the first time in the 8 years that I’ve lived in California, the fear of being brown in rural areas actually concerned me.  Years ago, I got lost in rural Kentucky and asked directions from a big guy with a confederate flag tattooed on his arm, and THAT incident seemed less anxious than current times.

I am choosing to spend my time up north with 3 of our closest of friends.  We are staying in a small cabin converted from a train caboose, in the middle of a couple of great California National Parks, National Forests, and State Parks.  I am grateful for ALL of those things.

I need to go back to nature, and get back to the that which has taught me some very true things:

  1. The world changes like the seasons of the year, you will need to adapt.
  2. You will have challenges along the way; it may rain or you may fall, but you will get through it.
  3. Everything grows naturally, from a little bit of care.
  4. A little bit of trash makes a big difference, only collectively can we keep it clean.
  5. Dawn still rises, even after the darkest of nights.

Hoping to return back with a little comfort and some new energy, because it’s really been a mental struggle since coming back from Scandinavia.  It’s been a long time now since my days of a “wake and bake” Thanksgiving, and I am opting for a little bit of clarity.  In need of some nature therapy to help bring a fresh dose of perspective.  Because, in the end, I still have lots to be thankful for.

Featured image: My family in Copenhagen


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