- Editor’s note: I received this beautiful Thanksgiving Day contemplation from Yelm Blog reader Jalene Smith, and was so uplifted and inspired, I asked for permission to share with all of you. Used with permission:
Thankful Day, 2020
I sit in our beautiful home, on our beautiful property where nature abounds in abundance all year round.
I sit here and think of myself as sovereign, secure and sustainable—and, in this moment, I am. Certainly more than most inhabitants on the planet. But how did I get to this particularstate?
Indeed. This was accomplished not as a sovereign, independent being but rather with the collective, willful support of community, businesses, and government.
I could not have dug a well on my own, or cleared the forest back enough to make room for home and hearth and garden. It took the willing support and work of others with expertise that I do not have and equipment. And they could not have gotten their equipment to my land without roads and bridges that the government surveyors and private contractors built and continue to maintain. This gives me and my neighbors safe passage as well. While we are set, thanks again to the expertise of solar and electrical specialists, to live off the grid, it sure is nice to turn a switch and have power and lights. And when a car crashes into a power pole or a tree falls on a line, I can now check on the internet with my Smartphone to see how long the repair will take. And though we are responsible if a tree along our private property falls across our homeowners association road, often one of our neighbors has tended to it before I even know it has happened. I, in turn, have pulled out our chainsaw and done this for my neighbor. We don’t call and grouse at one another. We take care of one another and our community.
When the snow falls, we all shovel out and are delighted when we get to the county road that has been cleared for passage.
When we have needed emergency medical care, the laws of our government allowed the firefighters and EMTs to respond quickly. And when arriving at the hospital we were cared for by a well-trained, responsive staff.
Hundreds upon hundreds of people have contributed to this sovereign moment that I freely enjoy and am so grateful. Most are nameless from the clerk who processes my driver’s license or helps me find that once-a-year item I need for Thanksgiving dinner in the Safeway; to the school teachers and school secretaries and janitors who educate our kids to become good citizens.
To say that I am sovereign and independent and free to be my own governess is wholly disingenuous. For it is these threads of connectedness that make my quality of life that I am so grateful possible.
Maybe it would be the wiser of me to give a little more respect and appreciation to others by limiting my broader community activities in this time of a pandemic; to wearing a mask when I must go out as a show of respect and unity for our collective freedoms and support of one another.
The U.S. Marines who actually fight to maintain our freedoms in this country pride themselves on never leaving a fellow wounded soldier behind in combat. They work as a collective unit in support of one another. Maybe we should take their model and leave no one unsafe in these unsafe times. Would these acts of wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands then be seen as the preservation of our freedom rather than its loss?
To this day and this holiday season I live in gratitude to all those that have contributed to my life and that have allowed me to contribute to theirs.