I try to celebrate Thanksgiving and Advent by practicing gratitude. Exercising a habit of being grateful for and content with our lives tends to make us happier. Being satisfied is not easy as we are bombarded with lists of stuff we should want because it will supposedly make our lives more complete and us happier. My sense of gratitude is made a little easier because I do not regularly watch network television and avoid the advertising blitz which fills the airways from Halloween until after Boxing Day. Even so, advertising manages to invade my internet searches with the very things I can’t seem to live without. Perhaps because that’s because I have done at least one search for those or similar items in the past. Advertisers seem to know that it does not seem to be in our nature to accept what we have as enough and to be grateful for many gifts we receive on a daily basis.
Take, for example, this week’s ten inches or more of snow. I don’t like being cold. I would have liked the nice, unseasonably warm fall weather to continue for another month or even longer. Driving on slippery roads with the white stuff coming down at an angle makes me lose my sense of direction and is disorienting and stressful. I really have to work at being grateful for snow.
But when the sun comes out, I will look out my kitchen window at the blue spruce covered with sparkling frost. There are pillows of undisturbed snow on the branches. The back yard looks like someone has covered it with a perfectly white quilt. There are a few bird tracks, but otherwise the snow remains undisturbed. The blizzard which has blown on for days has abated. The view out my window looks like a Christmas card.
I am reminded to be grateful for my parents who planted the blue spruce and to my grandparents who planted the box elders. I am thankful for the water they carried to the trees. More than seventy years later my ancestors’ plantings still protect our house from the winter wind.
I came up with a list of why snow is good.
1. This snow was wet and heavy. It will help insulate and water the perennials in my yard and flower beds. It will protect the grasses, wildflowers and alfalfa in our hay meadows and pastures.
2. Snow is necessary for cross-country skiing, and we haven’t had much good skiing for a couple of years.
3. Mosquitoes don’t breed in snow.
4. The grass doesn’t need to be mowed.
5. Snow shoveling is good exercise if done judiciously.
6. The biting flies are gone.
7. All of those yard and garden projects that I didn’t quite get finished have disappeared-at least temporarily.
8. The pocket gophers are hibernating and not digging new holes in my lawn.
9. Snow and cold makes me appreciate a nice day even more.
10. A fire in the wood stove feels REALLY good when you come inside from working in the snow.
11. I have a new furnace and don’t have to worry about the old one quitting or blowing up in the middle of a sub-zero night.
Being grateful–even about snow–gets easier with practice.