As I have written over the last several months about my observations in my personal garden and the agricultural area I live in, I hope to have conveyed my wonder and gratitude for the bounty that we have before us. My appreciation of my life, of the people in my life and the opportunities I have had are beyond words. I am thankful for my family, my friends, my home, and my country.
The US of A is struggling, but we are still so much better off than most of the rest of the world that it may be difficult to accept how much we have to be thankful for. We, as a society, have been accustomed to wants being granted with minimal effort on our part. Our every whim has been satisfied and over satisfied. Where else are there so many fantasy-theme parks where you can pretend you are someone else, or more than your ordinary self? Put a movie in the DVD and escape to another world: magic, mystery, and intrigue play a large role in the movies available via internet or mail. As if our real life is not good enough to focus on.
As a nation, we have sources of electrical power to maintain comfortable temperatures within the buildings we live and work in. We have an abundance of food and clean water, yet we bottle water and process that food until it is devoid of the nutrition our bodies require and cost much more due to processing and transportation. Grocery shopping and preparing meals has become passe’; I saw fully prepared Thanksgiving meals advertised in our Super Markets – the joy of Thanksgiving is in preparing the food with family and partaking of it together in gratitude.
Since September, right after schools opened, there have been huge displays of Halloween and Christmas items. Buy, Buy, Buy! There is nothing personal, nothing sacred, about the holidays. Mass produced toys, decorations, and ‘stuff’ is hyped to a population driven by greed. I remember Halloween as a time to make costumes and dress up. The candy was a fantastic treat, but we ate it slowly, savoring the memories of the parades and racing from house to house. Businesses did not hand out candy on Halloween, but they did most other times of the year. Christmas, celebrated as a national holiday, with Black Friday as the most anticipated shopping day of the year makes my skin crawl. The thought of shopping is not appealing to me anyway, but to stand in line, in the cold, with hundreds of people for limited numbers of items just isn’t enticing to me regardless of the ‘savings’. When did this become the expectation of our culture? Do we really need the items dangled before us on tv/radio or in fliers within our newspapers? Do those we think we are shopping for really need the items we are considering? Want is not a fair indicator of worth as a want is something not in hand at the moment. Need, far less items come under this heading in my life. As a culture, we follow our wants more than our needs. As our economy stagnates and changes, we have to evaluate our choices more closely.
Thursday, as we travel Snoqualmie Pass to visit with family, I am truly grateful for my family – all of it as it adds tremendous color and texture to my life – my friends, old and new, the tame and wild animals that inhabit my little world, my comfortable home and the fantastic opportunities I have each day to be the best person I can be. I wish you peace and happiness and a safe holiday weekend as you travel, eat, and shop.