Many of us are aware of the benefits of a daily practice of gratitude. It helps us focus on the positive, put things into perspective, and lessen depression, anxiety, and stress. The authors’ group in which I participate ends each session with each of us sharing what we’re grateful for. So, being grateful reaches far beyond our Thanksgiving holiday. Nonetheless, I like to especially focus on thankfulness at this wonderful time of year.
Of course, I’m thankful for my health, friends and family—including all of our non-human animal family members—and, most of all, living in freedom. But when I first woke up this morning, I was reminded of something which is an equal blessing.
Two black cats, Clydie and Bonnie, have adopted me, but prefer to be outdoor cats. My first action every day is to feed them on my back deck, which is just outside a French door from my bedroom. It’s always heart-warming to see them and watch them enjoy their breakfast. This morning, as I looked up from watching them, a breathtakingly beautiful sight greeted me—a group of visiting Canada geese on the pond.
Such a calming and hopeful scene! God surely gave me a gift in allowing me to share a moment in the life of these birds.
And when I downloaded the photos from my camera, I was stunned to see how beautiful the colors were. When I first saw the geese this morning, they were on the opposite bank of the pond and the water near that shore. They were in the sunshine. By the time I hurried back with my camera, they’d moved into the shade. I was disappointed, but now I see that I shouldn’t have been. They were even more spectacular there. with the blue of the sky reflected in the water and the green of the neighbors' lawn perfectly complementing the autumn foliage in the trees. A perfect palette!
But what I found even more significant than the beauty of the geese on the pond was the sense of peace I had there in their presence. I looked up at the sky and thought of them flying on their long migration and what a miracle it all was. I realized how very small I am, a mere part of this whole story of life. It felt wonderful! It released me, even if only momentarily, from the tyranny of so many things in my life which seem important, but really aren’t.
So much of the time, we’re locked into the activities and challenges and problems of our lives as part of human society—a mind-numbingly complex society where we can so easily feel lost and worthless. But, really, we’re part of something so much greater and so important to be reminded of.
It's true that I'm so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. But nature is everywhere, and one can experience it everywhere. I've had the same feeling of peace just looking up at the sky from the concrete caverns of a large city.
Here’ a photo I took a little later with the geese in the sunlight.
And here’s a photo honoring the Bird of the Week, the wild turkey. A small flock was a nearly constant presence at our previous home in northern California. We happily fed them cracked corn, and had many interesting interactions with them.
Happy Thanksgiving, dear turkeys and geese. I’m so thankful for you!
To see an article from the Mayo Clinic on the benefits of gratitude, just click the button below. By the way, the article contains links to other related resources which you might find interesting.
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