Thanksgiving Day in the USA - and once again, I am kidnapping the concept here in the UK to make my own list of gratitudes. Here are just ten things out of many in my life that I am so very thankful for.
1. My family - both my 'next of kin's' - and those of wider family - loved ones, with some of whom I have only recently re-connected. No names - they know who they are. As I grow older, I feel ever more conscious of the fact that 'family' - whether by blood or affection - are one of the things that gives foundation to my life.
2. My home - grateful to have a roof over my head when so many have none - especially this home, its deep sense of permanence thoughout its three hundred years of history still evident through the artefacts I constantly find scattered around. All the lives that have been lived here sustain me.
The garden - In Springtime...and in Autumn
3. My garden. My Little Eden. My Paradisum. The land - the place from where we all came, and to where we will all - in one form or another - return. (There and to the stars - for are we not also all stardust?)
4. The animals - the domestic pets that I have known in the past and who live with me now, and also the creatures alongside which I inhabit this beautiful but oh, so endangered planet.
5. My health - especially my eyesight. Like everyone else who has reached the 'more mature' years - I've had a few health 'ups and downs' - but by and large, I am well. I especially value my eyesight - I'm a visual person, always with my head in a book or an art-gallery (real or virtual!) - it is precious (and writing this is a reminder to take good care of it!)
6. My connection with the University of Winchester; those who have taught me and the things I have learned there, (which will be life-long) the friends that I have made there, (who I hope will be life-long) - the opportunities that still exist there for me… (yep, probably life-long!)
7. Enough money in my bank and pocket that I can enjoy life without worrying about my finances - not always the case in my life. I came from a very different - less 'comfortably off' world and have seen the corrosive effects of being constantly worried about money. I'm not extravagant - a book, a visit to the cinema, a day out in a garden to which I have membership entry - these all make me deeply happy (but I know that for some - even these things are great luxuries).
I've had my horizons expanded, and my friendships increased bounteously by the Internet connections I have made over the last 21 years. I've met a few of my internet friends and formed lasting friendships with many more that I will probably never meet face to face. Meeting 'in the flesh' does not matter - we meet in minds and hearts. I value a great number of you - you all enrich my life.
For all these things, I am grateful and today I especially give thanks.