Today is December 31st, the last day of 2013. I wrote this blog a week earlier having just returned from a hike with my dog Alley and my son Darrow who is visiting for a few days from Santa Cruz.
I am biased but Darrow, 23, is an amazing person. He is a teacher in outdoor education and leads youth groups out in nature to share his knowledge about plants, birds and the other natural wonders you can’t experience sitting at home in front of your computer. As we hiked Darrow told me about a Mohawk teacher, Chief Jake Swamp, who had taught one of Darrow’s mentors about the Mohawk tradition of giving thanks to Mother Earth.
It is Mohawk tradition to start each day by giving thanks to Mother Earth. To be human is an honor, and we should offer thanks for all the gifts of life. This is based on the belief that the natural world is a precious and rare gift. The whole universe–from the moon and the stars to the tiniest blade of grass–is addressed as one great family. Everyday we should give thanks and celebrate the beauty of Mother Earth.
After we returned I thought about this and how lucky I have been. I have been fortunate to travel the globe and have seen how beautiful this world is. Too often we lose sight of that. I have seen some marvelous things. And while there are too many to list a few of them are kayaking with orcas, seeing the sunrise on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, watching a family of gorillas lounge in the forest, seeing a mother chimpanzee play with her son, baby elephants play with their mother, cheetahs walking in the tall savannah grass at dawn, proud lions, gorgeous leopards, sleek impalas, graceful giraffes and a myriad of colorful birds and other wildlife.
So as 2013 draws to a close and I get ready to spend a lot of time indoors at Adventure Travel shows (where I look forward to meeting many of you) I want to give thanks – thanks for having seen these amazing sights, thanks for the opportunity to do what I am passionate about and thanks to all of you for helping me fulfill that passion.
So tonight when the clock strikes 12 let’s all give thanks for what we have seen and will hope to see in the year ahead.