Mountain Musings: Thanksgiving Thoughts

As we move towards the beginning of winter and a new year, it’s good to reflect on the joys, heartaches and challenges of the past year to get some perspective and to feel thankful.

It’s been heartbreaking to watch the suffering of the people of Ukraine as their homeland has been decimated by war.  Many African countries are engulfed by famine and death.  COVID-19 still has its icy grip on the world though its impact has waned.  Many countries along with the United States are grappling with drought, food shortages and ruin from flooding, tornadoes and hurricane damage.

Add escalating violence, mass shootings, climate change, political divisiveness, hate and intolerance to the picture and things on this planet look awfully bleak.  But there is still so much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day and every day:

Thankful for the many birds that sing and swoop and gather at the front yard bird feeder, finding food for their families and nesting nearby.

Thankful for the sun that rises  every day and that brings light and life to plants, trees and all living creatures.

Giving thanks for each morning   sunrise when we start the day anew with possibilities and positivity.

Thankful for the dazzling sunsets of awesome red, purple and orange streaks that melt into the evening darkness.

Giving thanks for Mother Nature and the healing power and stillness of the woods, the mountains, the fields, streams and rivers that we treasure.

Thankful for the wildlife with which  we share these lands-the grazing deer families and the scampering squirrels and chipmunks.

Giving thanks for the beauty of the four seasons-the newness, blossoms and hope of spring, the warmth and lush, green grandeur of summer, the spectacular red, gold and orange autumn colors and the wonder and peace of quiet winter snows.

Thankful for the rains that make things grow and for the moon and stars that illuminate our night skies.

Giving thanks for the love, caring and support of family, friends and colleagues as we face the unknown future.

Thankful for the things that make life enjoyable and worth living-great movies, music, reading books, seeing art and creativity.

Giving thanks that COVID deaths have diminished with hopes that people will still take precautions to protect themselves at large gatherings and indoors, especially through the holiday season.

Thankful for our health care providers and workers, police, emergency medical responders, firefighters and other emergency personnel who go above and beyond to keep us safe and well.

Giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day for having a home, food, clothing, health, family, friends, co-workers and a caring community.

Thankful for the little acts of kindness that people do that are so unexpected.  They are simple and heartwarming actions that make your day.

It’s hard to say what the future will bring for West Virginia, the United States and the world.  All we can do is try to do our best, make the most of each day and  and hope for a better world.

Believe in yourself and that we’ll make it through these difficult times. Stay positive. Rely on the love of family, friends and community for strength and comfort.

Be kind, caring, compassionate and respectful with everyone you encounter. Give thanks for every new day and for all that you’ve been given.  Keep looking up.