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Thoughts on a Pandemic Thanksgiving Day

A double rainbow arcs across the evening sky above the Colorado Springs skyline, Photograph © Stewart M. Green

We’re thankful on Thanksgiving Day for life and the bounty of the world. We’re thankful for family and friends and feast, gathered around the dining room table and later, the kitchen sink washing and drying tottering piles of dishes.

This pandemic year is different though. I’m not doing anything, nothing, nada, nil. Socially distanced, no heaped plates, no friends, no family, no sip of wine, no vegan roast, no lively conversations, no family squabbles. Instead, I am finishing a chapter for a book this morning and then heading west to Elevenmile Canyon in the mountains to spend the afternoon shooting photographs, hiking up obscure rocky summits, basking in winter sunshine, and being alone amid natural splendor.

That feels right to me this November.

But yes, there is much to celebrate this year, despite the brutal death toll from the pandemic, the deaths of my mother and friends, the loss of friendships, and a self-imposed isolation to stay well and healthy. I celebrate the season with day-to-day happiness, with the grounding that my work gives me, and with therapeutic changes in my life that help me understand my past motivations and dishonest actions and help me continue on the life-long journey of self-awareness, personal growth, and individuation.

We want these days of 2020, the year of pandemic, death, isolation, panic, and crazy politics, to be over, to be forgotten, to be relegated to the trash bin with the broken crockery and old ways. We want a new dawn breaking, a return to normal, a new normal, even a better abnormal. And perhaps that new normal is lingering on the still bleak horizon of 2021 with promises of vaccines and herd immunity and a return to eating at our favorite restaurants and socializing with friends and shedding masks so we can again see each other’s smiles and frowns.

Perhaps those days will come. But until that sun rises on a new day, we are making the best of this year and are grateful for moments of happiness, kind words, selfless actions, and being part of this spinning merry-go-round on our pet ponies.

Give thanks, my friends, rejoice and be grateful. I am.

I shot the photograph of a double rainbow on a summer's evening as the day's last light shafted over Pikes Peak, illuminating a flotilla of gauzy clouds with shades of orange.

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