7 Things to be Thankful for in Nature this Thanksgiving
Between work, school, the rising costs of everything, keeping up with friendships, and taking care of ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally, modern life can, at times, seems overwhelming. This is why, in addition to the good food, sports, and chance to reconnect with loved ones in person, Thanksgiving is such an important time of year. The holiday offers us a chance to exhale, take stock of all that is good in our lives, and give thanks for the people and things we hold close. As you prepare to stuff the turkey, glaze the carrots, and open up cans of cranberry sauce because your kids refuse to eat the chunky homemade variety, consider these 7 things to be thankful for in nature this Thanksgiving.
1. Fishing / Source of Food
From the salt and freshwater fish you love to catch during every season, to the berries, orchard fruits, mushrooms, vegetables and more that grow from her soil, recognizing nature as the perfect source of food is the ideal way to give thanks this Thanksgiving, especially as you gather with friends and family around the dinner table.
The world is an increasingly stressful place, but the natural world continues to be a refuge from the noise, worries, and fear that comes with being alive and online in the 21st century. This Thanksgiving, spend some quality time in your own backyard, on a patio, camping in the woods, fishing, or simply take a hike, and find the peace, calm and silent serenity available outdoors. While out there, give thanks to nature for the space, the clean air and water, and the chance to find calm.
3. Clean air
Most of us take it for granted on a day-to-day basis, but the natural process responsible for the clean air we breathe is one of the biggest reasons to be thankful for nature this Thanksgiving and every single day of the year! If not for trees, the air quality on the planet would be dangerous, which is why it is so important to protect the Earth’s forests and our nature resources.
4. Natural Beauty
Hashtag no filter needed! Nature is gorgeous in all seasons, from the vibrant colors of autumn to the fresh blooms in spring, and even the way the snow falls and rests cinematically upon branches in the dead of winter. There is an abundance of beauty, both rugged and pristine, on show every day, and that’s a reason to give thanks to nature this Thanksgiving.
Thanks to vitamin D and boosts of melatonin, sunlight has many benefits including strengthening your immune system, fighting off depression, and reducing stress. While the hours of sunlight are de-creasing dramatically around the year-end holidays, the chance to spend time basking in and benefit-ing from the sun’s warm glow is still one of the things to be thankful for in nature this Thanksgiving.
Nature finds a way, always! This can be seen in the ocean waters continuing to lap upon the shore, and the trees and grasses emerging through rock and pavement. Spending time outside and observing the ‘never give up’ spirit inherent in nature can be a valuable lesson in resilience for anyone who is struggling.
6. The Water Cycle
Maybe it’s an annoyance when trying to drive somewhere, but rain is a wonder that’s worthy of our thanks. Consider that, because of evaporation and the water cycle, the rain that falls on us today is the same rain that fell on the dinosaurs! It’s true! And that same water you learned to fish in and boat on, made up the streams and lakes that native people set up communities alongside and fished out of too!
7. A Home Away from Home
One of the best reasons to be thankful for nature is the ability to sleep beneath her canopy of trees, sea of stars, and among the creatures large and small who make the outdoor world their home. Camping in the fall is an especially perfect way to engage with nature, and the freedom to camp out-side, in tents, RVs, cabins, yurts, or simply in a sleeping bag under the constellations is something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Looking for more ways to be thankful? Consider starting a gratitude journal to make being thankful for the big and small things in nature and life a habit that may improve your mental health, and also head outside to enjoy these 30 cheap outdoor nature activities with friends or family.
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, OWTK.com and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion