A Thanksgiving 2020 Poem
Chris Heeter is a Leadership Speaker, Wildnerness Guide, and Poet who freely admits that much of what she’s learned about humanity comes from dogs and rivers—from her team of 16 sled dogs, who she helped breed, raise, and train, to her decades of guiding whitewater canoe trips. Combined, they create the perfect back-drop for memorable, easy to apply, lasting, and life-changing tools for individuals, teams, leaders, and organizations.
I’ve been subscribed to her Wild Thoughts for years now, and when her most recent shared poem came into my inbox last week, I just knew I had to share it with you all! I hope her message of hope and growth fills you up as much as it did me.
Many have flown on tiny wings to warmer climates
or nestled into dens to wait out winter.
Others carry on,
some with fur adapted to winter white
or feathers dulled grey.
This season of early winter
brings big changes to field, forest, and stream.
This particular year,
the humans, likewise, have profoundly changed.
Halted from our constant movement,
with gatherings canceled or sized down.
Loved ones may be absent
and too many are gone.
We don’t do well with limits or loss,
this species who has spread our stuff and ourselves
across nearly every inch of land.
And here we are.
Most notably at this time of year
when we typically come together,
there is an ache in the air.
A longing coupled with all manner of emotions
as we must choose
between togetherness and untenable risk.
And yet, this time, this season,
like every year, is called Thanksgiving.
Beseeching us to notice, to be thankful.
It is, admittedly, harder in the midst
of dashed plans and separation
from those we hold dear.
But can we do it anyway, dear ones?
Can we muster the strength and big brained creativity
to be fully in this moment, even as we are apart,
and be thankful anyway?
Can we recognize that the missing of loved ones
shows us plainly that we love and are loved.
That the act of separation—for now—
is an act of great love.
Not just for you and your beloveds,
but for this impossible and unlikely collection of two-leggeds
that share this planet.
Thanksgiving this year is an action and a promise
even if it takes place on tiny screens or telephones.
A willingness to take care of each other
by being apart.
So, with a deep breath and a hint of sadness,
I bid you all Thanksgiving.
May you have warmth and shelter,
good food and time to exhale
And may this time, for all of its strangeness,
bring new levels of insight,
deepening our understanding
that connection is not dependent
on time, proximity or space.
Be Safe. Stay Well. Be Hopeful. Stay Grateful.