Taking Time on Thanksgiving

I recently read an article in my NPR newsfeed suggesting that instead of “What,” we should be grateful for “When” this Thanksgiving. The premise is based around “time,” that rather than give thanks for things or even people, instead we be more appreciative of time.

It’s been an odd year for me where time is concerned. It seems as if the days are either flying by as fast as the cartoon version of pages flipping off the calendar, or as slowly as my blood red pen waiting for midnight so I can cross off yet another day. There has been no in-between for me this year.

No exception to the in-between is my state of gratitude this year. On one hand, how can I feel grateful for a year filled with more personal tragedy than I have experience in the past 61 years combined? Well….because “it’s the most tragedy I have experienced in the past 61 years!” Meaning I have lived through a very charmed past.

As to the future, well, of course that is uncertain. Mom is doing well physically, but it’s tough living alone on the farm, and she has no desire to leave it. She is left with two offspring who both suffer from incurable wanderlust, neither of whom share her love for the family farm. Time has us at an impasse, which is fortunate given the alternatives.

So instead of milling back through the painful past, or wringing my hands over the foggy future, I choose to be thankful for the present moment. This day which seems not unlike all the others, until it’s not. I am grateful for the time given so generously by my loving, caring friends and family who helped me achieve the highest highs, while getting me through the slowest, pain filled days of one red X on the calendar at a time…

“Right now, as you read these words time is rolling out from you. It’s filling space with your awareness of this one precious present moment. That, after all, is all the time we ever know. The past is a memory and the future an idea. But this moment, this breath, this deep sigh of relief or exhaustion, of care or concern — that, really, is all there is to time. The rest is nothing but words on a page or equations on a blackboard.” (NPR Article by Adam Frank, astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester, a book author and a self-described “evangelist of science.”)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone — and be sure to be thankful for “this one precious present moment.” For it is all we are guaranteed.

And as for precious time spent with friends, here is a “triple play on Thanksgiving Day.” In my last post, I complained about the crowds in Zion. But for every one crowded trail, there are a dozen lesser known trails within or just beyond the boundaries of the National Park, just waiting their turn to be explored. Here are three such glorious examples of hikes where we didn’t encounter a single solitary soul…

Chinlee to Coal Pits Wash Loop

Clouds make us think of smoke signals.

Clouds make us think of smoke signals.

Layer of snow adds a layer of beauty to the West Temple.

Layer of snow adds a layer of beauty to the West Temple.

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Yet another awe-inspiring lunchtime view...

Yet another awe-inspiring lunchtime view…

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Hellhole Canyon, Ivins, UT

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That white dot in the middle of the photo is Mark's cap "route-finding."

That white dot in the middle of the photo is Mark’s cap “route-finding.”

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No Name Waterfall in a Frigid Canyon off Hwy 9

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Spiderman, through the keyhole.

Spiderman, through the keyhole.

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“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

26 thoughts on “Taking Time on Thanksgiving

    • Thanks, Jim and Barb — I am so sad that I am going to narrowly miss meeting you guys. I left on Saturday…what, 3 days before your arrival? I look forward to reading about your Zion Thanksgiving!

  1. I’m glad I didn’t read this Thanksgiving Day post until after I had posted… or else I would have felt the need to do a rewrite on mine to avoid outright plagiarism accusations. Seems we are running in tandem with themes lately…
    It is a day to take pause, after all, to be grateful in spite of all the reasons we can muster to the contrary. You, of all people, know that feeling well this year. You set a good example of strength, endurance, and drive, both on and off the trail.
    Till we meet and hike again,
    Mark and Bobbie

    • Thanks, Lisa — It was fun to see Hans carving it up on FB yesterday! 😉 Can’t believe you guys are already in San Diego…seems like just yesterday we were sharing a beer in Moab. Glad you made it safely. I left Virgin on Saturday, and am now in Lake Havasu on my “southerly migration.” Hope to cross paths again soon!

  2. Happy Thanksgiving mi amiga. I am thankful that you have finally caught up to real time in your posts :) Also thankful that the hurricane has just been downgraded to a Cat 3 so far.

    • Mi Amiga — I am watching the weather and your posts closely, keeping all fingers and toes crossed for you! But glad you guys took precautions to “batten down the hatches!” Sending positive thoughts for calm seas!

  3. Yes. This moment, indeed, is all we ever have, and gratitude is the most important practice I’ve ever cultivated. This is a beautiful post, Suzanne. Thank you.

    • Laurel — I can’t agree more, that there is no better foundation! Hope you had a wonderful holiday. Thanks for the nice comment.

    • Pam — What a nice sentiment! Thank you so much. And yes, I look forward to that gift as well, followed by a couple of beers, of course! 😉 Looks like you and John had nice holiday!

  4. Beautifully put Suzanne. When life has slammed me hard I find it equally hard to be grateful for what isn’t any more or can no longer be. You remind me I can be grateful for this moment. Such a group of friends as you gave had to help you through is indeed a thing to be very grateful for.

    • Hi, Sherry — Thank you for the nice comment, Sherry. I trust you and David will continue to have many more great moments. I have been enjoying your Keys discoveries. Hope you continue to enjoy the warmth!

  5. The more I live in the Now the better my life along with the memories gathered I want to be grateful for every day. And sometimes, I forget. Thanks for the reminder.

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