It's the day before Thanksgiving 2011. The weather is more like Spring than November, mild, sunny, calm. A perfect day for a hike.
Along the edge of a forest, crossing a stream, up the hill I go. The air is warm and fragrant with the scent of ponderosa pine. There is no wind, no sound, perfect quietude except the crunching gravel underneath my hiking boots. The silence around me is so profound, almost sacred, that even my footsteps seem to disturb this moment for me. After about a mile or so I step off the path and climb up a steep grassy hill. Big granite boulders are strewn across the slope. Meandering higher and higher the distant snowcapped mountains reveal themselves to me and the more I climb the more this spectacular vista opens up.
Sitting down on a small ledge on this sunny slope I hear the gurgling stream below at the bottom of the canyon. Such beauty all around me makes me still; my breathing slows down as the awareness of this special yet so simple moment allows me to enter deep meditation. Connecting with nature around me through every single one of my senses gives me peace and appreciation for all of creation.
I contemplate the true meaning of 'Thanksgiving'. Giving Thanks for this very moment, for the privilege to experience nature in all its splendor, to immerse myself into it, to be surrounded by it, appreciate and care for it I bow in gratitude. Thanksgiving to me is not just associated with food as we know it. It is soulfood that I am grateful for as well and to still being able to experience an almost childlike sense of wonder and awe about the simple things in life.