November is here which means the days are shorter, and sometimes have a slight nip; the nights certainly do. Fall has found us, and summer, with its energy of exuberance, fun, and frivolity has departed to be replaced with the more somber tone that confirms: in nature, all things stay in balance. Hey, I guess it’s a Newtonian Law of some sort— what goes up, must come down. And summer is certainly a season of up. But I’ve always found that a little bit of sobriety carries with it a gentle peace and introspection which leads me gracefully to gratitude.
I love that cyclically the feelings engendered during this time match up with what we celebrate during the month of November— gratitude for our military veterans with Veterans Day on November 11, and gratitude in general, on Thanksgiving, November 28.
The other day, I was frolicking outside, reflecting on this time of year and everything that I’m grateful for. Even though we don’t really have a fall foliage down here, the leaves on many trees still fall. Suddenly, an especially large, oblong-shaped yellow leaf dislodged itself from a branch and came swirling down. For some reason the sight filled me with glee, and I went yipping around in a circle, leaping up to catch it as the leaf mimicked my circles above me in its downward descent. Then a small gust of wind scooped it up and carried it some distance off. And having struck a fancy in my doggie-heart, away I went dashing after it. It slowly came to a rest in a pond, where I sat pondering for a moment, when a small turtle emerged from the water, raising the leaf up on its back as it did so.
“Well, hello there!” the turtle cried out to me. “Look at this beautiful leaf that has fallen on my back. It’s positively delightful.”
“I know,” I replied. “I was chasing it and it brought me to you. I was thinking of everything that I’m grateful for when I first noticed it, and felt so full of happiness, it lifted my spirits so much, that I decided to follow it.”
“Well, now, that’s a trick,” the turtle replied. “Suppose I just keep on with the tradition you started, and reflect on what I’m grateful for. That would be my nice wet pond here, and all the insects that I have to eat. Seems the insects are always abundant. That, and all my other turtle friends in this pond. We all pretty much go along at the same pace, no one’s every in a hurry, and so we have a pretty harmonious environment here.”
“Say!” he exclaimed suddenly. “I think this leaf is magic, because I feel full of happiness now too. I’m going to give it back to you, so you can give it to another and then maybe they’ll feel grateful and happy too.”
And so saying, the little turtle slowly lumbered out of the water, offering up the pretty yellow leaf on its back for me to take. Reverently, I took it in my mouth because I knew that it was magic. It had the power to remind me of an important lesson— when we feel gratitude, we also feel love, and then we feel more positive about life and everything in our lives. Counting your blessings isn’t an archaic dull dictum, it’s a wellspring for joy. Off I went, merrily on the lookout for a creature who was in need of a little remembrance of all the blessings that exist around each of us, everyday. May you remember yours too.