From The InnkeepersNovember 2019
In some of my readings this month I came across the work of John Burrough who is a naturalist. This segment of his writing struck me as particularly appropriate to describe my feelings about this time of year.
“I am in love with this world…I have tilled its soil, I have gathered its harvests, I have waited upon its seasons, and always I have reaped what I have sown… and always have beauty and joy waited upon my comings and goings.”
Though nature can be unpredictable, John Burrough is right about reaping what we have sown. Our relationship to the natural world is simply one of cause and effect. To me what remains to be done in our relationship to nature is to cultivate a posture of gratitude for its many gifts. A great deal of that gratitude should be learning to live in a more sustainable fashion so as to preserve those gifts for future generations. Which leads me to thoughts about this month and the approach of the one day of the year that we as Americans set aside to give thanks.
Too often our celebration of Thanksgiving is about the parades on TV in the morning, the turkey and how it tastes, our favorite side dishes, and the football and food coma that is sure to follow what is often an over-indulgent day.
For the last 15 years since founding the inn, we have had a ritual of grace together here with those who have gathered around our Thanksgiving table. We have a lovely ceramic “gratitude bowl” half filled with water, that serves as our centerpiece. Inscribed on the inside of the bowl is a quote by Maya Angelou: “Life is a glorious banquet, a limitless and delicious buffet.” All year long we experience the glory of what it is to be alive at this time and in this beautiful place. On Thanksgiving day each person has at their place setting a small tea candle that they light when it is their turn to say a prayer of thanksgiving expressing all that they have to be grateful for particularly in the past year. After each gratitude offering the candle is lit and then placed carefully to float in the bowl. It illuminates the faces of those gathered and lasts for several hours after the meal as a reminder of the real reason we are together on that day. I am grateful especially on this day when we take the time to vocalize our gratitude, which often remains unspoken even among those we love the most.
So I would encourage anyone who happens upon reading these words to promise to themselves, especially in the month of November, to make conscious attempts to embody an attitude of gratitude toward the earth which sustains us, toward our loved ones who support us and enrich our lives, and toward this world which is greatly in need of any kindnesses and good works that we can offer.
Blessings to you and families from
Marcia, Pat, and Sharon and all the creatures of the Rustic Gate