Dalton Delan

Give thanks.

Maybe there is little you have done today worthy of the gift of life that has been given you, and yet the dog nuzzled you awake, cold nose against your cheek, because the outdoors beckoned and a bluebird had the temerity to sing in his doggedly marked yard.

Give thanks.

Maybe because with Thanksgiving upon us and the holidays after, you no longer send out seasonal greeting cards, and yet a friend you haven’t seen in years mailed you one with their new address and the kind recollection of something you did for them when you still had the means and were more in touch.

Give thanks.

Maybe since the snapshot your friend’s daughter offered you at the wake has a note scrawled in the margin that reads “You were always one of my mom’s favorite people!” and you realize that the pictures and books you once gave have come bouncing home after their recipients have died, and you wonder about the boomerang that brings such things back.

Give thanks.

Maybe an entire bookcase situated near your desk as you write these words is filled with inscriptions and admonitions from authors you have known who are now no more, their tattered jackets sarcophagi bearing all that remains of their brains like stones tossed in a pond.

Give thanks.

Maybe the words always rattled around in your head as you hummed a tune you could never quite identify, as it swirled away from you like autumn leaves on a windy street, and you knew if you could just capture that song you might be saved, but you can’t, and never will.

Give thanks.

Maybe you were one of the lost ones, one of the children who did not get all the affection they craved, whose parents worked too hard and too long every day, yet a kind neighbor tousled your hair as you both waited at the bus stop, and that touch was a lifeline you never forgot, and in times of pain you often return for inner peace to this priceless gesture.

Give thanks.

Maybe in the litany of what little you’ve done and the disappearance into dust of your corporeal self, something good will remain, a memory or fragment of what you were may adhere awhile in this gone world at least until the last person who knew you passes on as well.

Give thanks.

While digital media have become an unmediated mess of antisocial tweets and texts, the newspaper lands like clockwork at your door, the aroma of coffee wafts, and the sun also rises.

Give thanks.

There but for the grace of God you are not that panhandler on the corner, come rain or shine, enduring another long day wheelchair-bound, begging their way to a bed, a bite, a drink, a bare subsistence born of bad luck, and demons of the brain your DNA blessedly spares you.

Give thanks.

There are no words to tell the agonies of those in places across the world whose stories rarely make the evening news, those not lucky enough to have made it to our over-privileged and insufficiently humble country, where we take for granted food, freedom, the rule of law.

Give thanks.

There is no PICC line threaded into your veins and you are not one who every week must pray that the miracle of medicine will sustain you for seven more days, without which magic, poison or bankrupting pharmacy bill you cannot go on and must wither and fade away.

Give thanks.

There is redemption in the smile from the immigrant who hands you your latte, as undeservedly in the transaction they accept that you are the one who can buy and they are the one up at four in the morning to make it to their service job for pennies on your office dollar.

Give thanks.

There is solace in every breath you draw, you tried to follow the golden rule, your children are regrettably correct that the fire next time must purge the mess your generation has made of this lovely planet, yet you hold out hope that they may forgive you.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks.

Dalton Delan is a writer, editor, television producer and documentary filmmaker. His column is copyrighted by Berkshire Writers Group.

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