16 Things I’m Thankful For Right Now

Last year approaching Thanksgiving I reprinted an oldie which I had sent to a former office team a while back.  Your reaction was kind, and I don’t think I can do much better than that at the moment, but perhaps there is merit in sharing some items that are currently giving me reason to smile.  Here without extended preamble is the short, unscientific list:

1) We live in a representative democracy where the peaceful and orderly handoff of authority is presumed.  As an aside, call me an optimist, but I’m spiritually betting we don’t swan dive over the Fiscal Cliff.

2) I get to write and publish this blog.  I can pretty much say anything I want without fear of disappearing into the night.

3) Diversity is cool, and increasingly, the law.

4) This year I got to celebrate my Dad’s 75th birthday with him, something he didn’t get to do with his father.  And I got to write about it.

5) My brilliant wife’s magical work teaching English as a Second Language and helping immigrants prepare for their American citizenship exams endlessly reminds me that one person can make a difference.

6) I have never run out of reasons to listen to The Beatles, and each one of their songs still makes me wonder how they pulled off that catalogue in less than ten years.

7) Yosemite, just Yosemite.

8) My dog may not see as well as she used to, but somehow she still has plenty of puppy in her.

9) The Giving Pledge will not only fuel a previously unimaginable wave of charity by choice of living billionaires, it can inspire everyday people to give what they can and know each dollar matters.

10) Frank McCourt has been extracted from ownership of The Dodgers and Chavez Ravine has survived as sacred ground.

11) Good health for those who have it.  More help for those who need it.

12) I received a generous inflow of emails this past year from former employees telling me how they are still making People-Products-Profits-In-That-Order work hard for them.

13) There is little chance I will run out of interesting stuff to read in this lifetime, new modes to ingest it, or social sharing networks to circulate my discoveries (the trick is not getting distracted by dreck).

14) I have completed a working draft of my novel, which a few of you have even read, and at last connected with a brilliant editor who totally gets it and can help me get it in front of more of you.

15) With modest prodding, yeast consumes sugar in harvested grapes, and with a few artisan touches the juice becomes wine — so much so that two glasses are never the same.

16) The candle count on your birthday cake may be daunting, but the brightness created by all that light does make it easier to see a bit better.

Happy Thanksgiving 2012.  Celebrate the joys that are yours.  Earn Each Moment.

Yosemite Inspires

Yosemite Renaissance XXVI
Yosemite Museum Gallery
February 26 – May 1, 2011

Yosemite Renaissance

Celebrated filmmaker Ken Burns has referred to our National Parks as America’s Best Idea.  He might be right.  Even beyond the pure majesty of nature, the link between outdoor cathedrals like Yosemite and artistic creativity is inescapable.  Ansel Adams certainly set the standard with his mesmerizing photographing of Half Dome, El Capitan, and Tuolumne Meadows, such that the aspiration of creativity set in and around Yosemite is recaptured each year in the Renaissance gallery show, now in its 26th edition.

To be in Yosemite is to recharge the batteries and grasp once again why we set out to create in the shadows of near perfection.  It is a challenge, it is a gift, and it is a joy.  If there is such a thing as magic, this interplay between our need to make art in harmony and contrast with the beautiful and the sublime offers a sense of mysticism and awe beyond words, pictures, images, or replication.  Yet that does not mean we should not try to interpret, in fact Yosemite reminds us the elements forever compel us to envision the invisible.