Category: Nature

Post Thanksgiving Musings


In this week following Thanksgiving, some ideas keep showing up.  You know how that happens, a synchronicity of impressions and thoughts that weave together to make a cohesive whole.

Black Friday (where did that name come from?), Cyber Monday and the like.  Does anyone think there’s an unsettling aspect to these pecuniary tsunamis?  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not opposed to retail therapy or snagging a bargain.  But racing to the mall with remnants of turkey and pumpkin pie in your teeth?  Brawling in the aisles of a discount store?  So okay, I ordered some books at half price today.  But following the slow progress of a sunlit leaf twisting on a current of water feels like, to use the tired old expression, a gift money can’t buy.

What if there was an unofficial Go Outdoors and Look Around Friday?  A Wow, Life is a Gift Monday?  I know, I know.  I can hear the groaning.  But listen, I keep getting hit with this idea of gratitude, and how the spirit of gratefulness can infuse every minute, every action.  How acknowledging, even in the dark places, that we have a choice to seek even the tiniest fragment for which to be thankful.

And what about contentment?  That got thrown into the mix this week.  I’m never going to be the contentment spokesperson.  Not even close.  But I get the idea:  If I’m basically alright where I am with what I’ve got, I’m not falling prey to consumer allurements and the perils of a self-defeating restlessness.  I’m not talking about the urge to keep moving and growing.  I’m not talking about the longing for creative purpose and expression, or the aching that comes with wanting a world where all life is valued.  I’m talking about an economy of grace rather than an economy of money.  A condition of the spirit in which I feel like I have enough, where I don’t feel so compelled to hang on tightly to things.  A condition of the spirit in which I feel like I’m enough, like I don’t have to fit someone else’s description.

Thanks giving, gratitude, contentment, having and being.  All interconnected.  All filled with the possibility for creative expression.


One Time When Being Part of the Crowd Was Good

I really like seeing something, in an otherwise ordinary day, that really flips the switch for me.  Most of the time, it’s something in the natural world.  Like today.  At this time of the year where I live, great undulating clouds of starlings and blackbirds pass through on their way south.  I was driving down a road with fields on both sides and I saw a mass of blackbirds settled on the asphalt like a dark mirage.

Birds rose and fell, skittering and tossing themselves about.  But the ones on the road were in no particular hurry to move rapidly.  Why get out of the way when you number in the hundreds, flowing across the road like a feathered river?  I could see their rationale.  One bird, jump quickly.  Two-hundred birds, meh, take your time.

So I slowed to a crawl, inching my way through the winged sea.  And then I was in a snow globe of swirling birds – above, around me – now part of the flock.  So this is what it feels like!  The susurration of flapping wings, the ebb and flow of rising and settling, the animated conversations surrounding me.

Many times I’ve stood under these tumultuous winged migrations – the roar of their calls, the smell of them, the rush of wind against my face from their wings.  But to be a part of the flock!  A moment of grace.