November is such a funny month. I like to think of it as the gateway drug to Winter. Almost like a second date with Mother Nature, before she’s decided if she’s going to be naughty or nice. If she’s going to be gentle or wicked.
- I’m grateful I know how to drive a stick shift. I think that’s one of those skills that everyone should master, because you never know when it could come in handy. Like typing, starting a fire or sewing on a button. It may seem like frustrating drudgery when you’re learning it, but it’s something you never forget afterwards.
- I am thankful that America is still a nation of immigrants. My ancestors came here from somewhere else, many generations ago, and if–with all our flaws and infighting–this nation is still considered a place to go when you want the chance for something better than you currently have…well, that’s pretty awesome.
- House plants. Or any plant, really. Not much gives me more joy than watching a new leaf sprout or flower bud on any photosynthetic life form. Philodendron; desert or Christmas cacti; tulip poplar; fiddlehead fern…. It doesn’t matter. Plants set such a great example! The stubborn refusal to simply lay still or to cease growth, plants are made of that. They function on an entirely different schedule than animal life, and it is we, not they, that are the alien life form on the globe. They were here first. We just barged in and started stepping on and around them. But you’ll note they have not thrown in the towel. In “The Poisonwood Bible” Barbara Kingsolver writes:
“Every space is filled with life…. And in reply, a choir of seedlings arching their necks out of rotted tree stumps, sucking life out of death. The forest eats itself and lives forever.”
Which is beautiful and true and a bit intimidating. But it’s just how they’ve survived for eons. Adaptability. Reaching to an energy source. Resting when necessary but always maintaining some sort of motion. I should be so effective in my own development.
- Literacy. Possibly the single most important thing a human can learn. If you can read and write, your options for surviving on the planet are vastly improved. Your marketability skyrockets. Your ability to learn becomes something you take for granted until it’s tested by a new set of circumstances. And then you might doubt your ability to adapt, but why? You’ve already accomplished so much! Especially if you’ve learned to read and write English (or American, specifically). It’s not scholastically considered the most challenging language to master (see http://mylanguages.org/difficult_languages.php for one opinion), but I’m willing to bet the combination of our grammar, slang and verb tenses only seems fairly straightforward to people who’ve grown up on it. Most importantly, if you are literate you have afforded yourself the opportunity of escape. Whether you want to read music, poems, technical manuals or fiction…you can take yourself away and give reality the finger. Even if just for a few minutes. Your options for survival improve.
- I am grateful for indoor plumbing. I don’t think I need to elaborate, especially since Chicago is in for a hard winter. http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/worst-of-winter-20112012-aimed/55995