By Kathy Custren
Around the time of the last harvest of the year, various cultures around the world share celebrations of bounty and thanks. We find ways of gathering together–bringing evidence of our energetic growth in nature and the annual warmth of friendship. We call it “thanksgiving” for a purpose, as it serves to embody our intention of offering a bit of ourselves in gratitude for everything, good and bad, that we consider as our blessings.
This time of year also serves to highlight a few very important pieces of our humanity that comprise our physical and spiritual unity. Many of us may not have much of an opportunity to look at exactly how these gestures of gratitude impact our life. We can certainly feel when they are missing.
How many of these are evident to you as you walk along your road?
We have our bounty of the many natural plants that have grown in the warmth of the sun. As that sun moves further away and the chillier weather sets in, we start to think of ways to extend our involvement or attachment to those plants. Once harvested, we know to store those natural gifts in ways that will serve our loved ones and us later.
We share our bounty with others close to us. What is often “too much” for one family may help loved ones who can use it. It is time for soups and stews, for canning and dehydrating, or for freezing every bit of nature’s goodness that we can. We appreciate all that grows, giving its life force to help sustain us. We may get together with family and friends to swap ingredients or recipes.
Even if we have not grown our own supply of food, we make plans to stock up at the grocery store. We compile special holiday lists and start planning the family’s meal. We invite relatives and friends over, often working together as a team to make the celebration an appreciably warm and inclusive event.
We clean and decorate, using the colors of the season to show how much we admire the tones of warmth, too. The browns, reds, and golds of fall are abundant, so we bring the outdoors in to enjoy before they are covered in snow and ice.