This is no traditional Thanksgiving. Everyone I’ve talked with has spent at least one holiday–Thanksgiving or Christmas–on their own. And for various reasons, this looks to be mine.
Yet I feel wonderfully at peace. To a great extent, I chose this for 2012, and I know the space and quiet this year exist only so that in future years, it can be filled with something better. Truer. Warmer.
So this Thanksgiving, I am deeply grateful for many things. But here’s my top ten for 2012, in no particular order:
- My friends
- My students, or fellow-learners as the Taoists would say
- Hope–that “thing with feathers / That perches in the soul / And sings the tune–without the words / And never stops at all.” That indomitable, unquenchable spirit that keeps each one of us going in dark times–sometimes for no reason we can see. Yet.
- Freedom of speech and expression–not so that I can say whatever I want, but so that I can participate in a global democracy of ideas, a free exchange of thought that invites me to see the world in new ways
- The literature that embodies that democracy of ideas, from Shakespeare to Walter Mosley, Jane Austen to Larry McMurtry, and that bring solace, entertainment, joy to the human experience.
- Music, for doing much the same.
- Love–of all kinds–for its capacity to generate growth and illuminate life
- Electric space heaters, because damn if it isn’t cold this November
- And you–for reading this.