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November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Day

I love winter days. I love winter days for the same reason, I think, that I love the nighttime. On cold, crisp, snowy days like today, when the wind is whipping the snowflakes across the valley below Pine Grove mountain, nobody else is outside besides me and perhaps one or two other brave souls; just like at nighttime, when I’m the only one walking out in the world, enjoying the relative tranquility of the evening.

I was pondering why it is that I like being out at night so much as I walked home from Video Library last weekend in Philly. Is it the quietness? The stillness? Partly. But the conclusion that I came to is that the reason I like the night so much is that when everyone else is retired in their homes and apartments for the evening, mother nature takes over again. When I walk the streets and sidewalks at night, as in the winter, I am reminded that the sky, the trees, and the brick and mortar of the buildings–simple things–are what dominate the world, not people. People and their gadgets make so much raucus during the daytime that it’s easy to get caught up in troubles and worries that are really quite small in the grander scheme of things. If I don’t have the perfect job right now, is that really the end of the world? No. It may be frustrating, but not as frustrating as if I let it consume all of my thoughts and actions.

Going for a walk on a cold day or a dark night reminds me to chill–no pun intended. There are simple, beautiful things to enjoy about life even if everything else isn’t falling into place. Like eating good meals. Savoring a piece of creamy, dark chocolate after a long day. Curling up on the fouton to read a chapter from a good book. Getting a foot rub from Paul. Giving a head rub to Paul. Washing the dishes and cleaning off the countertop of our own place above the Sunoco station and the city streets below. Like spending Thanksgiving Day with my familiy.

Life is full of moments to enjoy if I remind myself to enjoy them. I give thanks for those moments today, and for the wintry days and dark nights that remind me to take a step back and recognize the simplicity of life–the simplicity that’s waiting for us all to fall back on when times get tough. And times are tough for the world. If only simplicity were more outspoken and demanding, then we might take more notice of it and test it out as a new strategy for a new world–but if it were glitzy and gaudy enough to catch our attention, then I guess it wouldn’t be simplicity.

So it lies in wait–simplicity does–waiting for us to realize that the answer to war, hunger, dissatisfying jobs, is not to build more arsenals, spend more money, or buy more entertainment systems; the answer to war, hunger, and all of our other problems, I am convinced, is to enjoy the simple things in life–for if we enjoy those, we don’t need to protect the accumulated wealth that leaves others without. We just need warm clothes, sturdy shoes, a scarf, and a starry night to make us happy.

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