Feeling Thankful

Fall color, Illinois

Just a couple of days before our whopping November snowstorm, this is how it looked.

It’s that time of year, of course, when we’re inundated on social media by “be thankful” memes. You know the ones: “Join me in a month of thankfulness.” I don’t begrudge my friends their participation in these observances, and I actually enjoy reading them sometimes. But I have to say they usually make me feel just a teensy bit guilty for not joining in.

So I have been thinking a bit about gratitude lately, and trying to pay attention to things for which I am grateful, even while not actually sharing them publicly. It’s not that I’m making any sort of statement by not sharing–more that I know if I promise to share daily, I will inevitably falter. So I am not setting myself up for failure or a broken promise.

That said, there are a few reasons why I truly am feeling grateful.

First and foremost, my most immediate family is happy and healthy, with a good roof over our heads and food on the table. Too many people cannot say the same, and so I urge you to join me in giving money, time and/or in-kind donations to organizations that combat homelessness, poverty, domestic violence, hunger and the like, either in your immediate community or in the global village. Pay it forward; charity matters.

It snowed here this week, a huge dollop of snow that we’re told was the largest November snowfall in Chicago in 120 years. Then it got icy and cold. But I didn’t have to drive anywhere in the snowstorm, and it was actually quite pretty, despite the sizable branch it broke on my favorite lilac tree. So I’m grateful. Here’s what it looked like looking up into the trees at night:

winterBelieve it or not, just two days before that snow fell, I was thankful that a few of our trees were still hanging onto some amazing fall color. Come to think of it, I’m glad I live in a place where the weather isn’t the same every day. It can be hard to know just what to wear on any given day, but I actually like the weather’s mood swings.

Because it’s Thanksgiving, I’m also feeling thankful for the family recipes that have been handed down to me. Pumpkin and pecan pie, Mom’s stuffing, a recipe book full of Christmas cookies that I make every year because my mom did… these are some of my very favorite foods, and the next month will be full of them.

And I’ve started blogging occasionally over at Escape Into Life, an arts website where I have been social media editor for some time. I’ve been a lover of the arts in many forms for years, but writing about art is new for me. I’m excited to share an amateur enthusiast’s wide-eyed amazement at the communication and transformation that art makes possible; and I’m thankful for the opportunity. My first post recounted a recent appearance in Chicago by author Salman Rushdie, whose work I have loved for many years. I was truly thankful to have the opportunity to see him as well.

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