A Month of Gratitude, Day One: A Sense of Place

Thanksgiving has never been big on my list of holidays, I won’t even pretend. It’s just more added stress and work glomped onto the Katamari ball of Christmas cheer and New Year’s revelry, in between the Halloween hysterics. Basically by January 2, I’m ready to pass out for three months or maybe hang out in a bell tower with a shotgun for a while.

I do love baking and I’ve honed my decorating down to where I can just subtract the spooky Halloween elements and use the leftover pumpkins and leaves. It’s only that all events involving my family are potential firebombs of screaming and hurt feelings or long awkward silences. Plus, I don’t recall ever being young enough to buy the fairytale of Pilgrims and Indians peacefully coexisting in a brave new world. Yes, let us break bread with you, then we’ll send you home with some comforting malaria blankets. Don’t worry, you’ll be happy you died instead of surviving to watch us rape the land, pollute the water and the sky and hire Jewish guys to depict you in embarrassing television roles.

I digress, as usual. One part of the holiday I can get behind is the idea of giving thanks. I think each of us should spend more time focusing on how lucky we really are. So each day for November, I will be posting about one thing for which I am grateful.

I’m going to begin with where I live. For all of its issues, I’m glad I live in the US. I love the endless diversity. I’ve traveled across most of this country and each new place was truly unique and fascinating. I’m glad for the freedoms we so often take for granted. I’m glad that we’re allowed to argue, openly, passionately for what we believe, for the things that matter to each of us.

I’m happy to live in Ohio. It’s a gorgeous place, situated about as safely as you can be from natural disasters. I love that we experience all four seasons fully and distinctly, and each one brings its own treasures and adventures. Though I live in a rural area, an hour or two of driving can bring me to large cities full of concerts, museums, street art, restaurants, dancing and crowds and all the culture I can handle.

More locally, I feel like I live inside a scenic postcard. Winding trails through beautiful forests are just steps away from my door. Trees that bring us scented blooms and new life in the spring, grow heavy with bounties of berries and fruit in the summer, swirl with fiery bursts of color in the fall and freeze into delicate traceries of ice and snow in the winter. There are lakes and ponds and waterfalls to splash in or skate on when they’re frozen. There is fertile land that brings us the freshest produce.

There is space to run and walk and think, to dream big dreams without the weight of too many voices pressing in on you from all sides. There is room to be yourself and live your life the way you choose. There is quiet and majesty and a connection to the earth that can be hard to find among concrete and glass buildings stretching up to the sky, but reflecting only each other back into blind eyes.

So I am deeply grateful that I landed here, for the things that held me here and the things that will ever draw me back.

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