Why Thanksgiving is the Color Brown

The plentiful trees outside my window are diligently shedding their leaves. The green foliage that once danced with the summer winds is now pale and crisp awaiting fate. These leaves have provided a shady relief on the hot sweltering days. And now as they succumb to their demise, I feel a vague sense of loss. This bereavement stirs in me every autumn when the warm sun has faded to cold days, daylight has diminished, and tawny landscapes portray a lifeless reflection.  Mounds of fallen leaves announce a visual end of terrain life that was in abundance during summer.

Autumn is a brown season. Brown is an earthy hue, suggestive of dried corn stalks and fields at rest after harvest.  Much of nature comes to an end in the midst of autumn—meadows stand still and stark, covered like a woolen blanket.

It seems a contradiction to have Thanksgiving Day noted in such a season.  Would not the life-renewing month of April be more likely to excite gratitude?  Surely, thankful hearts are found everywhere leaping and bounding on the green grass and fragrant blossoms of early summer.

Feeling gratitude in the brownness of November, in the midst of barren horizons, encircled by cold and dark dawns can be difficult to summon. It seems easier to be grateful when the sun is shining, the wind is warm, and gardens bloom from naked branches.

But an attitude of thankfulness requires no precedent. It seeks expression in all circumstances, especially in the stark rawness of the autumns in our lives. In fact, the heart that is thankful in all seasons will find the shadows in life easier to maneuver. The hearts that believe in the sun even when it is not shining have an umbrella over their stormy days. In all circumstances, they can site a list of blessings for which they are grateful.

Every new day magically unfolds in grandeur for each one of us to use. To use giving back. To make a difference in someone’s life. To be kind and helpful. To be generous if able. To tell another human being that you care.

May you know happy thanks and happy giving, even in the brown seasons of life.

Think about it.

drsandynelson@gmail.com

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