Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It's About Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It wasn't always that way. As a child it was all about Christmas, but these days I treasure simply sitting down to have a nice dinner together with family and/or friends. 

And of course on this holiday, it's about giving thanks for...whatever. Anything. Everything.

I think just sharing a meal together around a table with others is something to be grateful for. How often do you do that each week? 

So first and foremost, I'm grateful to dine with members of my extended family this Thanksgiving season. Especially after everyone has put time, energy, and love into preparing a special meal.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, Thanksgiving time is often stormy, damp, and windy, and occasionally sunny and cold.  

For our tempestuous and ever-changing weather, for our drenching rains and stark blue skies afterwards, I am grateful. For foggy days that shroud the landscape in a comforting mist, like a favorite blanket, I am grateful.

This year I've been challenged by deep loss. For the wild and precious lives of my stepmother Bonnie and brother David, who passed away this year, I will be forever grateful.

For our abundant and beautiful mountain trails, those who put time and energy into maintaining them, and my friends who join me on hikes, I am grateful.

For the Salish Sea, on whose beaches I played as a child and whose waters I now cruise in my sea kayak, I am grateful. May we strive to ensure safe and clean water for the formerly abundant marine life and a better, healthier marine ecosystem for the struggling but surviving wild salmon and Southern Resident Killer Whales (orcas).

And extra thanks for Granny, the presumed 104-year-old Southern Resident orca who still is out there, raising and mothering the J pod. Her long life is a tremendous inspiration to thousands.

Back to mountains again, for Mt. Hood (Wy'east), on whose forgiving slopes I learned to ski and whose trails I first backpacked as a teen, I'm especially grateful. 


I could go on and on in this vein, posting hundreds of photos and thanking everything, like...

all my family and friends, 
those who work hard to make this world a better place, 
grocery checkers and other service workers who give me a friendly smile at just the right moment, 
the sun, 
the sky, 
the moon, 
the stars, 
my productive garden, 
Columbia Gorge waterfalls, 
Washington State ferries, 
banana slugs, 
sword ferns,
wild rhododendrons,
the remaining old growth forest,
western red cedars (Thuja plicata),
ponderosa pines,
Northwest berries,
laughter, especially babies and toddlers laughing,
long and late summer sunsets,
the wind that caresses and jingles my wind chimes, and...and....and it's hard to stop!

So for now I'll take leave, log off, and plan on spending a social media, web-free holiday. I'll try to be fully present with those around me, including any whales I might see on the ferry ride to Bainbridge (wishful thinking).

How about you? What tops your list of gratitude this year? Wishing you and yours a lovely Thanksgiving and holiday season ahead.

Happy trails and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons!

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Anne said...

Very nice post and great pix. I am thankful that the cancer has left my body and mostly thankful that my first grandchild will be born in two months.


Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving, as another dear friend says RE her many medical issues - we are all still in the boat. Looked around my dinner table a couple of months ago and noted that all the women present were cancer survivors. And I suspect that your table this year will include a few of your own dear survivors. So here is what we can be thankful for - modern medicine. Remember and be thankful for all those with us and (I love this phrase) those who have passed. Take care of your delightful and very precious self kiddo.

Jeanne said...

I love your thoughts about gratitude and the photos, as always, are wonderful. You remind me to cherish the small things in life. Thinking of Bonnie's life as "wild" makes me smile. Have a lovely Thanksgiving, Jill! Remember always how much Bonnie loved you and is with you in spirit.

Lainey Piland said...

Beautiful photos, and a wonderful list of everything we have to be grateful for in the Pacific Northwest! I especially agree with you on the trilliums. I can't find it in myself to be grateful for banana slugs, though... I need to work on that one! ;)

Lesley said...

I'm thankful for your awesome posts and photos. You live so gracefully! And also for the continued health of parents, now ages 84 and 85.