My feelings around Thanksgiving have evolved over the years.  From the earlier days of extravagant feasts and food comas induced by copious amounts of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and more pumpkin pie, I am now learning more about gratitude.

This quote by Melody Beattie resonates with me:

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

A wild turkey in flight.

Wild Turkey flying to its nighttime roost, Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico

Wild Turkey, Big Sur, California

” ‘Enough’ is a feast.”

                                        — Buddhist Proverb

Enough is Enough

A family of Brown Bears shares a sockeye salmon in Katmai National Park & Preserve, Alaska.

I used to be in “acquisition mode.”  More money, more stuff, more, more.  This was an endless cycle for me.  The dopamine hit from short-lived, instant gratifications bypassed actual gratitude.

Somewhere, I read that it is essential to pretend like you are on your deathbed, with only a few minutes left.  What will you be grateful for at that time?  All the stuff you acquired?  Or will you smile when you think back over the people you shared life with, the challenges you faced and got through, and the goals you achieved as you respected your purposes in life?

Now, I try to keep a tighter focus on following my purpose and the journeys that follow.

Grateful for Being Able to Explore Nature

Boreal owl in New Mexico.

Boreal Owl, New Mexico

I am grateful for being able to explore the wild lands and experience incredible wildlife encounters.  Many trips resulted in no good photographs, sitting in tents for days in the rain, and other challenges.  I am grateful for these hardships.  The good days and favorable results would not be as meaningful without them.

Many remarkable people have blessed my life. I am grateful for the shared experiences and lessons learned from them. Although some are no longer alive, I still think about them and continue learning from them.

I hope today, Thanksgiving Day, kick-starts you to reflect on what you are grateful for every day.

Cross Fox in the snow.

Red Fox (“Cross Fox” partially melanistic morph) grateful for sunshine on a -27 deg F day, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

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Black bear cub resting its head on tree branch in the rain.
8 replies
  1. Howard and Mona
    Howard and Mona says:

    Thanks Ed for your reminder of the best aspects of life for which we should be grateful. It grounds us.
    We are in CO now with our daughter and family. There are gentle snow flurries and it’s about 18 F. All the best to you and Mel. Mona

    • Ed MacKerrow
      Ed MacKerrow says:

      Happy Thanksgiving and day of Gratitude Mona and Howard! That sounds beautiful in the Colorado Snow. Santa Fe was blessed with about 5 inches of snow last night and this morning. Beautiful out.

  2. Margaret Lewis
    Margaret Lewis says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful expression of gratitude. So appropriate year around. Thank you for sharing your marvelous photos of nature. I love the bears sharing a salmon.

    • Ed MacKerrow
      Ed MacKerrow says:

      Thank you for reading the article on gratitude, Margaret. Yes, paying attention to gratitude is a good habit, one I am trying to practice more each day. I am glad you enjoyed the article and photos. It was a treat to watch that family of bears sharing the salmon so peacefully, it made me appreciate just how important sharing is to them.

  3. Valerie
    Valerie says:

    Beautiful photos and good reminder to be grateful. <3
    Are you still on bear cam? I remember your lovely posts, but haven't seen any from you in a long while, just wondering.

    • Ed MacKerrow
      Ed MacKerrow says:

      Hi Valerie, Thank you for reading my article and your comments. I am still on bear cam, however, I do not visit it much in the offseason. I look forward to the season ahead in Katmai!


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