Today begins the countdown to Thanksgiving, a holiday that became official due to the efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey's Lady's Book and author of the famous "Mary Had a Little Lamb" nursery rhyme. She spent some 40 years advocating for a national, annual Thanksgiving holiday but it was President Lincoln who ultimately paid attention. it was Lincoln who finally proclaimed it a national holiday to infuse hope and to bring together a nation torn apart by the Civil War. On October 3, 1863, Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday in November (based on Washington's date) to be a day of "thanksgiving and praise." Ironically, considering the recent presidential election and the polarization of political parties, a day of thanksgiving and unity is indeed appropriate. Heck. I am grateful the elections are over! But gratitude, like a muscle, needs to be exercised daily. So I decided to start small, to celebrate each of the five days of Thanksgiving by focusing on one of the five senses per day. Perhaps you’ll join me and begin to list what make you grateful about each sense. Day one: Vision! I glance at the nightstand clock: 6:00am. Slowly, so slowly, the sky begins to lighten. Peach clouds swirl against the darker rain clouds over Catalina Island. I pick up my morning meditation and read the words. Slowly. Slowly. My hand reaches for the coffee cup as I look at my husband of 32.5 years and smile. His eyes crinkle at the corners as he smiles back.
My early morning run offers more vistas of ocean and sky. A string of fat pelicans glide silently overhead. The ocean barely moves today, more placid than the day before. I wave to a familiar jogger and stop to scratch the head of an old dog. The boardwalk is wet and I watch carefully for signs of slippery moss.
Today, the gate to the headland trail is closed and a sign says I am too early for its opening. Sigh. Running back up the hill, I keep our two palm trees in site. Twenty years ago, when we first moved in, the tress were already a landmark at 50 feet. Today, they tower well over 100 feet and can be seen from roads in all four directions. Makes me smile that our palm trees serve as a beacon for many. And so the day begins. From the faces of people I love to the books that I read, from the bounty of nature to the simple grasping of a handle, from the signage on a gate to the colors on the ground, I am so grateful for my eyes. Look around you. What would you miss? It is true: “the EYES have it!"