|Erin (11), me (mom), Ryan (19), Kelsey (21) on Thanksgiving Day, 2014 at my parent’s home where I grew up|
In the US, we begin “the holiday season” with a day of Thanksgiving. This is my favorite holiday, because it is truly all about gratitude, family and centers around the tradition of “breaking bread” together. Traditionally, this is a harvest meal, where everyone contributes, and then comes to celebrate and give thanks for a “bountiful harvest”, and for all that enables us to be together once again, year after year.
This Thanksgiving, my family, including these 3 wonderful souls that I have the joy of calling “my children”, gathered on a snowy day on Cuyler Hill, at my mom and dad’s home. There were 36 of us this year, which is fairly typical, and we had 4 “little ones” under the age of 5, who bring their own special brand of noisy joy!
My 11-year-old Erin just looked over my shoulder and said, “What does this have to do with why you work mom?”. And here’s what I told her… “Because I work for you so that we can continue to have a world where we can come together and share meals, and enjoy the bounty of this beautiful natural world.” And then she advised me, “Use the word ‘therefore’- it makes you sound sophisticated – that’s what my student teacher told me.” Yep! That’s why I work – part 1 anyway, in very simple terms! It’s about love.
I have always worked – since I was old enough to drive a tractor in 6th grade on this family farm where I grew up. This is where I learned to love nature deeply, for the beauty of the earth. Mother Earth – inspiring music, poetry, hymns, prayers, art, dreams, and drawing us into her for hiking, biking, creek-walking, exploring, swimming, stargazing, horseback riding, skating, skiing, camping….
|Ryan, Erin and Kelsey on top of Black Bear Mountain|
I began to share my love of nature with my kids in small ways at first – just getting them outside, barefoot, in the backyard. Challenging them to hikes when they were young was a wonderful way to connect with each other and nature at the same time. And so hopefully their love of nature was also nurtured, grounding them in the hills and mountains of upstate NY, but also inspiring them to spread their wings.
|Ryan on top of Marcy, overlooking Lake Placid|