Much is made this time of year for the need to express what we are thankful for. That proposition is a bit like asking people, “Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty person?” My question is why must there be a glass or fullness involved? Why is everything reduced to measurements of a physical equation involving mass and volume? Is it useful or fair to reduce emotions, attitudes, and one’s circumstances to such equations? Perhaps not, but in the days of Smartphones, Twitter, Facebook, and multi media outlets to share the oddest aspects of ourselves with everyone, it is hard to remember if we have ever had an unexpressed thought or digital emotion. So much is spilled through these channels daily that we have become hardened to real expressions of passion and enthusiasm and deem those emotions as false or too impossible to be real.
I am reminded daily of Walt Whitman’s poem Miracles from Leaves of Grass, “To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle.” I DO feel that way. I cannot recollect not feeling that way. My family loves to tell stories about my fascination with the natural world. When my father would return home from work in the evenings, I would take him by the hand – no matter the season – and tour the garden with him to show him what had changed that day. So mundane by today’s standards, and yet it does explain why I get distracted by leaves changing in autumn, the scent of rain in the air, and why my co-workers ask me so often if I ever have a “down” day. Sure, but they make the rest seem so miraculous.
My heart races at the first signs of light at 5 AM in the morning. My breath catches when the muted purples and oranges of dusk soften and turn to indigo after sunset. I continue to view every hour of light and dark is a miracle. What about you? As one of millions of cancer survivors (over 20 years for me), I am appreciative of very small things. How do you assign an equation to those feelings or measure those simple things in terms of mass, volume, or neutrinos? (By-the-way, I am fascinated by neutrinos)
Don’t let this time of year throw you. Don’t be dismissive of those who would ask you to iterate what you are thankful for during Thanksgiving. Give them a copy of Walt Whitman’s poem Miracles.
As for me, if my father was still living, I would be taking him by the hand and showing him around the garden to show him how things had changed today.
Happy Thanksgiving every day.