cloud with rainbow

I am grateful for having known you, and for the times that our mists mingle

For me, Thanksgiving feels like a time of loss, a time to reflect.

Perhaps because it’s around the time when I lost someone dear;  it’s also the time that autumn, my favorite season, ends. The cold winds steal the remaining leaves, wrapping us in a chilly embrace, just as the warmth of the Thanksgiving meal’s overindulgence wanes.

rae dunn mugs saying "thankful"

Gratitude is the platitude of the season now.

It feels that every mug, doormat and seasonal towel this time of year bears a reminder to “Give Thanks” in a Rae Dunn font. It’s important for us to express gratitude, but also important to recognize the impermanence of those things and people that we have, that we attach ourselves to and reply upon.

From a 10th century poetess of the Japanese royal court comes truth about impermanence:

The one close to me now,

even my own body-

these too

will soon become clouds,

floating in different directions.

Izumi Shikibu, The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan

As each of us nears that time when we will ourselves become a cloud, how can we experience what is in this moment? I am learning now to try to appreciate difficult moments as teaching moments. Thank you to the stormy clouds that have passed my way, that taught me to reorient myself in a better direction. Thank you to my loved ones who are no longer bodies but who steadily drift above like cirrus clouds, watching over.

If I am to become a cloud, will you be grateful for having known me? Will memories of me be like rainbows for those left behind? I hope that our mists get chances to mingle before we part ways.

Thoughts for reflection:

  • What qualities do I wish others to remember about me?
  • What storm clouds have passed that I can be grateful for encountering?
  • How can I savor the moments I have as I experience them in the coming days? Can I show thanks by being present?
  • Are there ways I can bring my gifts more fully into this world?
Izumi Shikibu, shown here in a c. 1765 Kusazōshi by Komatsuken, was a poet at Empress Teishi’s court.

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