It’s time to give thanks for the seasons

I love the seasons of the year.
Winter brings back memories of being snowbound—not going to school and sitting by the fire with a book. With popcorn and hot chocolate. Sledding, tobogganing, cross-country skiing, and making angels in the snow.
And Christmas at Grandma’s—the highlight of the year.
Then came spring with the big thaws, leaving the snow just right for snowmen and snowball fights in the school yard.
Before the snow was gone, I sometimes was allowed to drive the horses in the maple woods while my father emptied the sap buckets into the big round tub on the sleigh. Later, I had a delicious snack of bread topped with hot maple syrup.
And when the snow was gone from the woods, I walked in a fairyland. White trillium, yellow adder’s tongue, purple violets, and ferns were snuggled to the ground. Blossoming chokecherry trees and crabapples completed the picture.
Then came Easter. I filled my basket with green grass and set it out for the Easter bunny. Somehow, he always found it and left behind brightly-coloured hard-boiled eggs, cream-filled eggs, hollow chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and sometimes a little plush chicken or rabbit.
Next, came summer—the best season of all in upstate New York. The days were leisurely and cool, and even on the hottest days, the nights were still cool for sleeping.
My mother had a wonderful flower garden filled with delphiniums, peonies, daisies, marigolds, zinnias, and asters. The garden had a path in the shape of a cross with a bird bath in the middle.
At the end of one path, there was a brick fireplace where we roasted wieners and marshmallows.
But the most wonderful thing about summer was picnics at Whetstone Gulf. Surrounded by tall evergreen trees, we loved to wade in the cold mountain stream. We had to be very careful not to slip, as the bottom was covered with slippery slabs of slate.
When we tired of wading, each of us took a large piece of slate and drew on it with a small chip of slate.
Then came autumn . . . and school. As much as I loved summer vacation, school was even better. I loved the lessons and the playing during recess. And walking home from school with friends.
The barns were full of hay and corn for the cattle, and our basement was bursting with wonderful food—potatoes, pickles, canned peaches, turnips, dried beans, canned blueberries, sauerkraut, and blackberry jam.
When the pumpkins were picked and the cider-making was finished, it was time for Thanksgiving. Time for gratitude. Not only gratitude for the harvest, but gratitude for all the wonderful seasons of the year.
Kimberly Lockwood wrote an insightful chapter in the book “Gratitude—A Way of Life” by Louise Hay and Friends. Lockwood recalled that as a child, she was taught to say “thank you.”
Then, “as an adult, I began to appreciate the things around me—how beautiful the mountains are in the fall, the snow-capped peaks in winter, the vibrant colours of spring flowers, and how fresh and clean the air smells after it has rained.
“I started to see the beauty in the world around me.”
Her appreciation of beauty gradually grew into gratitude.
The 14th-century monk, Meister Eckhart, once said that the most important prayer in the world consists of only two words: “Thank you.”
So this Thanksgiving, say a prayer of two words—Thank you for the wonderful seasons of the year.

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