Gratitude, anyway

This post is a slightly updated version of one from three years ago, since the message is still relevant.  The second to last paragraph has also been adapted as a poem that is found in Cold Spring Hallelujah, available now anywhere books are sold.

 

It’s Thanksgiving time [a complicated holiday if we look through the lens of colonization] here in the United States, and what a strange season we are in.  The Amazon burns while floods swallow sea level neighborhoods. Planned power outages become business as usual to prevent wildfire while incredible amounts of energy are used to keep indoor ski resorts going in deserts.   People in high office in too many countries seem to have missed the history lessons about the horrors that result from unchecked, systematic racism and the dangers in acting from fear and entitlement. Constant growth remains the goal while finite resources vanish. Work hours are long, jobs are lost, people are sick, loved ones are hurting, the dog is getting old.  There are many things to lament and grieve.  Grief and lament have their place in the world, and they are necessary.  Yet so is giving thanks.  Gratitude is nearly always possible.

Elie Wiesel wrote, “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” Gratitude doesn’t mean burying unwanted feelings or looking for the silver lining in the midst of a bad situation – gratitude means acknowledging what is still good even alongside the mess. Continue reading “Gratitude, anyway”

October Exhale

This post is comprised of journal entries from the month of October, times when I forced myself to just sit down (sometimes outside, sometimes in) and write about what was going on in the moment.   October 6 I’ve just finished wiping off the jars of applesauce that I canned this morning.  Late afternoon sunlight … Continue reading October Exhale

Lessons of Autumn

This is an excerpt from Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth, available now wherever books are sold.

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Here we are once again.  It’s fall in the Midwest, and the weather is changing.  The leaves of the maple trees out back are at their peak of orange and yellow vibrancy, and the backyard seems to glow with a quality of light that is unique to this time of year.  As I walk down the steps to the lake, leaves crunch under my feet and the air feels cooler than it has in months.  We still haven’t had a hard freeze, which is unusual and perhaps yet another sign of a climate that is getting increasingly unpredictable.  But regardless the mild weather, the earth is sloughing off her summer skin and slowing down in preparation for what is to come.  Winter’s cloak of stillness will be here soon enough.

Though the seasons change every year, sometimes it’s easy to forget the lessons we can glean from this age old rhythm of the planet.  Each season has its wisdom, and autumn is no exception.  There are lessons to be learned if we let the earth teach. Continue reading “Lessons of Autumn”

Laying it Down

A recent conversation I had with a colleague, after sharing the three books I’d just read, went something like this: “Why have you been reading so much about death?” I remember looking out over the St. Croix River as the sun went down, and saying something like, “Because I need to know it’s possible to … Continue reading Laying it Down