Thanksgiving: a uniquely American holiday. We’re supposed to stop what we’re doing long enough to remember and appreciate the good things and good people in our lives. No multitasking allowed, unless it’s basting a turkey and making a pumpkin pie at the same time.
Sometimes it’s hard to be thankful for the big picture items: our good health and our good families. They’re just “there” as they should be, as we want them to be forever. Giving thanks for these parts of our lives should be a year round endeavor if we can stop just long enough year round.
Today, I’m getting the chance to focus on a small thing. The weather in DC this Thanksgiving is stellar. It’s in the 70s! Too late for Indian Summer, it’s an anomaly. And like rain, the leaves are falling with the warm breeze. By now I have usually completed my annual leaf-gathering rituals and am giving thanks for that on this day (while doctoring my rake-induced sore arms and blisters). But this year last summer’s drought has delayed their fall. Our fall.
It’s so warm I’ve decided to take a bike ride. I haven’t ridden my bike on Thanksgiving since I lived in L.A. People are walking and running in their shorts. Everyone is in a good mood. And it seems the grounded leaves have left a path just for me to follow. I could live with more of this but the forecast is for falling temperatures, down into the 40s by this afternoon. Weather is so transitory around here. Growing up in Southern California, we just assumed the weather would be moderate day-to-day and so we forgot to be thankful for these perfect moments.
I pull over on the bike trail to take a deep breath. It’s a musty, woodsy smell the cold weather usually tries to hide. Today I’m thankful for the warmth and the chance to take advantage of it. But with the realization this blissful state is so temporary I take the deepest breath I can muster. The heat of the sun on my face, my autumnal commune with nature will have to last me till next spring. And I will need to remember this moment for a long, long time.