Let us give thanks
Let us now give thanks for the unplanned things of this life – for these things untouched by committees and free of governmental regulations.
A chunk of wood just after it is placed on grates and blue-purple flames lick round the bark and tiny sparks shoot out and smoke curls from the ends.
We are lucky if, when winter sharpens its scythe and wind moans against whatever house protects us, we can see a good solid chunk of wood as red-orange fire envelopes it — if we can feed the warm glow this process produces.
Then we can think of the people who are restless because of the flickering and burning tongue of freedom, who once cut trees in a new land and drew warmth from those chopped-up trees during the harsh winters that tested their rough cabins.
We can think of people who lived before us who wrestled the soil, who stalked wide animals, who felled giant trees and who, when icy night-winds blew, and with families beside burning wood-chunks, read by dancing lamplight.
Let us give thanks for flowing streams, for good clear water which through the ages has meandered through mountains flowed past sticks and rotting leaves, and boulders moving and with this movement it fuels our own movements and sustains our lives, which also meander and flow around various obstacles.
Some of us remember cold metal dippers in the kitchen; some remember hard gourd shells; all of us know the lovely feel of quenched thirst.
Let us give thanks for the untaped, unpackaged music of a crow’s caw, of a calf’s bawl, of a pig’s squeal and of wind’s travel through leaf-scattered woods; of saw-briar against dry lead, of rain pelting tin roof, of leaves falling in the night.
We ought to be thankful if someone loves us, cares, and would miss us if we disappeared during the night while logs burn, leaves fall, wind blows.
And if, on the day when fall teeters on the precarious edge of winter and hunters take to the fields and drums pound with glory and color on striped fields, we can smell fowl cooking and hear the crackle of dripping grease. If we can smell rolls browning and see meringue darkening and know that we will join others who mean something to us in a ceremonial feast – if we can do this then we should be thankful.
And we know, too, that were we to be alone, as perhaps all of us must be some time, that we still would not be totally by ourselves, but would know that we are part of the movement, that we have had our place where the wind blows, where the clear water flows, where the crows caw, where the stars glitter in black velvet and where we have had our place, too, with people and, however briefly, have felt love, and compassion and caring, like warmth from a burning log, touch us in the part of us that does not grow old. Let us give thanks for this.