The Artist’s Almanac
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No spring, nor summer beauty hath such grace,
As I have seen in one autumnal face.
into distances unimaginable in summer, or even in colorful October.
We see things as they really are. The russet oaks show their majesty
as they tower now above bare trunks of near naked maples, clinging
to the last shreds of their colorful fall outfits, as the sycamores
startle us once more with the shocking white of their graceful
limbs, hidden 'til now from view. Distant ridges stand exposed,
guarded by serried ranks of vigil hickories and oaks. Our views to
the gray-blue horizon furnish us a different scale, both of space
is time for giving thanks to our Creator for the panorama of the
changing seasons we are privileged to view in Tennessee. We bid
farewell to last roses and hope we may yet have one or two
blooms for the Thanksgiving table this year.
Thanksgiving will be different this year. We will miss good
wife’s turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, ham, squash, prune cake,
as she is no longer able single-handedly to organize and produce
a steaming dinner for twenty-two, on table, on time. Instead, we
gather at a son’s house across the street, where all five
families will furnish their fifth of the feast, each their
specialty, adjourning afterwards here for dessert, coffee, and
good talk through early dusk to dark. It promises to be a good
is a uniquely American holiday. One son likes it more than
Christmas because he prefers giving thanks to giving gifts.
Giving thanks costs us nothing - nothing save the most jealously
guarded thing we hold – our pride. Satan’s sin was pride and he
manifested it in ingratitude. In the words of poet Anthony
Esolen ... We are taught by the world that we must heap
burdens of work, self regard, and ambition upon our backs, to be
what is called “independent”. Imagine instead the light yoke of
gratitude, free and noble and Godlike, acknowledging that were
it not for love of God at every moment we might wink out of
existence, as a mote in a sunbeam passing into darkness. At
every moment we are made by God to depend upon his creation and
upon our fellow men for all that we need to live. Imagine the
freedom of a thankful heart.
harder we work and the more we heap up for ourselves the more
we, like the evil one, are tempted to believe we did it all
ourselves and scorn those who serve us. Is not the thankful
heart the most beautiful thing in creation? May we recollect
ourselves this season and be thankful for ...
The parents who bore and
For the love of God, for
faith, family, and friends .
For our jobs, for those who
support us, for our education, and for the chance to serve.
For those who labor at all
hours to provide us food, warmth, light, clean water, and
safety, often at great personal risk, including linemen,
fireman, policemen, who are out at all hours and in all
For our teachers and mentors
who sacrificed themselves and their time to educate us,
sometimes against our will, and to discipline us.
For priests, pastors and
rabbis, who keep the windows of heaven open for us.
For ambulance drivers, nurses,
surgeons, doctors and medical technicians who risk disease
and work all shifts to care for us tenderly when we cannot
care for ourselves.
For our nation, for freedom
and peace. For the members of our military who serve at
grave personal risk in faraway hostile lands to protect our
For musicians who transport us
into realms of glory.
For our hobbies and pets, for
happy memories, for our favorite things, for leisure and
For our gifts, talents, and
abilities, for honors, for strength and energy.
For struggles, sorrows,
trials, and sufferings, For failures and rejection, for all
the ways we have grown up and become better people.
For kindness, goodness, joy,
and laughter; for the times we have helped others or made
For all the wonders of
creation, for beauty, music, sports, and art, for new
opportunities and second chances.
For renewed hope and fulfilled
dreams, for the providence and protection of heaven.
For the gift of life.1
Thankfulness for all things is the one sure recipe for
contentment, for with it comes the comfort of recognizing we are
loved – loved by the One who gives everything to us. May we each
of us this season enjoy the freedom of a thankful heart.
This poetry and litany of Thanksgiving is repeated from the
November 2009 Artists Almanac.
The 2nd printing of our book,
The Founding of the Cumberland Settlements – The First
Atlas – 1779-1804 is available from the Book Foundry at
www.cumberlandpioneers.com, at Amazon, or in most area
Book 2, Thoroughfare for
Freedom, is in final stages of writing, and is due out
in May of 2011.