It’s mind boggling how much can change in a year.

Last Thanksgiving, I returned home from having dinner with family, pulled my car into the garage and closed the door behind me. But then I sat there, in that closed space, with the car engine running. Just for a minute. Or two. Just long enough to scare myself.

I remember that night now and am grateful that, even in the midst of debilitating despair, I had more sense than to do something so selfish and so foolish. Twelve months later, I sit here and marvel at all I have to be thankful for. Life is good.

I’m grateful, of course, for my creature comforts. I have a warm bed to sleep in at night and a refrigerator full of food. But, mostly, I’m thankful for less tangible blessings.

I’m thankful for the simplicity of my life. Because it has been through the process of scaling back on entanglements and obligations and possessions that I’ve found much-needed peace of mind.

And, if my new life in the desert has been surprisingly full, I have new friendships and this great site to be thankful for. I’m grateful, too, for the small pleasures that enrich my daily life here: early morning hikes and late afternoon walks, morning coffee, the public library, old books and new music and classic movies in technicolor. And then there is my camera. It’s a bit beyond me, I have so much to learn, and yet it has become my most prized possession and, in many ways, my salvation.

I’m thankful that, although I am on my own, I am not unloved. I feel fortunate that my mother is living and that we’re close. I’m grateful for my new baby niece and to my brother for letting me back into his life just in time to be an auntie. I’m thankful to still have with me my challenging, smart, cranky old cat, a divine feline and the most loving of companions these past 16 years.

And, in spite of the loss that brought me to my knees not too long ago, I am grateful for my dear friend, my love, who, in his absence, has grown to be a better man. I’m thankful that we remain connected and for the knowledge that, yes, he does have real feeling for me still, something I could never quite be sure of when he was physically present in my life. I’ll even try and be thankful for the longing I continue to feel because it reminds me that I’m alive and still capable of loving another person whole-heartedly.

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for a dawning spiritual awareness and for a rich inner life that bears little resemblance to my old one. I’m content these days, optimistic and hopeful. And, the truth is, I’ve been feeling a little restless lately. Who knows where I may have landed by this time next year?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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