Such pleasures, however, are not to be taken for granted. For me, Thanksgiving is a time to remember those who once gathered at the table who are no longer with us, and to give thanks for the enduring friendships and the love of family that continue to bring blessings to life.
This has been a year of happiness and joy, but also one of loss. It is a time to reflect on the wonders of each day.
Looking south from my window, I see the sun rising over the eastern hills each morning, casting a glow of orange and crimson over the glistening indigo waters of the bay. Often I imagine what the valleys and hills below my window would have looked like before the street lights and housing tracts and freeways were erected, when the Ohlone and later the vaqueros roamed the hillsides on horseback. It had to be awesome. And in the evening, as the sun falls over the ocean to the west, I take a moment to watch the blue skies give way to gray clouds, as the blues and pinks and yellows and oranges of the sunset gradually fade as darkness falls.
I am thankful for the recent raindrops, too infrequent in recent years, that have dampened the parched soil, and are hopefully the harbinger of a future winter rain that we so need. Ambitiously, I hope for new snow in the mountains, to restore the streams and lakes that nourish our habitat.
Shining lights glow below in the night, and I am thankful for the canyon beyond, teeming with songbirds and hawks and owls and other birds of prey, squirrels and coyotes and other wildlife, and for the beaches and trails, headlands and parks that make up the beauty of the Bay Area.
I am grateful for my amazing family, colleagues and friends, who are strong and dedicated, and who support and inspire me each day.
And on this day of Thanksgiving, I thank you, my readers. Thank you for your encouragement, and for your letters and comments. I wish you a bountiful holiday season ahead.