As Tracy and Nat both wrote about earlier, this weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving. It’s my favourite holiday by far — it’s about food and community with no religious overlay or consumer frenzy, and it’s all centred in gratitude.
I formally celebrated by having 16 people for dinner on Monday, two of whom I’d never even met before — they were the important people of people who are important to me. I loved that my nodes of people connected to other nodes of people.
I got a text Tuesday morning from one of my friends thanking me for “modeling community building.” That touched me, and it made me think about all of the different communities I’m part of, what makes community, and why it’s important to our general well being. In my little invocation at the start of dinner on Monday, after acknowledging the history of the land we were on and the Indigenous peoples who were here before us,I said that I was so grateful to be in a room full of people who all care about the same things I care about. The world feels often fragile right now, and being surrounded by people who care about human connection, respecting inclusion and diversity (even in food preferences, lol!), and creating a more sustainable, loving world is a profoundly important part of feeling grounded.
Earlier in the weekend, I had another lovely experience of community building and being with people who both push my thinking and reassure me about the world. On Saturday, I drove to Hamilton to go for a bike ride with Kim. We’d never met before in real life, but since we both started writing regularly for this blog a couple of years ago, we’ve orbited each other in social media and email. It was like we’d been friends forever — I pulled up to her beautiful new house, we got on our bikes, slogged up the escarpment (she was patient with my slow climbing), and then rode 75 mostly rural km through a truly glorious sunny day. We rode along, talking about cycling and families and mid-life legacy, and intersectionality and the feminist and decolonizing questions that we can’t seem to grapple with yet as a culture. All while riding strong and making each other laugh.
This is what community is, and this is one of the important places to restore, build new energy. People who care about the things we care about, people who ask and dwell in hard questions, people who open their hearts to the bigger world. This is where I dwell in gratitude.
How do you find gratitude, and what is its role in your life?
Fieldpoppy is Cate Creede, who lives and works and ponders the world in Toronto.