The outdoor potlucks

By Lynda Shadbolt

In his book, Embers – One Ojibway’s Meditations, Richard Wagamese has a chapter on Gratitude. In one of his entries he says “he is learning that happiness is an emotion that’s a result of circumstances. Joy though, is based on a spiritual engagement with the world based on gratitude.” He then goes on to acknowledge that it is the little things that make him feel grateful and joyful. I think we can all relate to that.

Looking at the colours for the past few weeks has been a gift. Walking my dog. Coming home to beautiful flowers in a vase on the counter from my husband. A good cup of coffee. A visit in person or on Zoom with friends. So many opportunities to be full of thanks.

Last night my friends and I celebrated a couple of birthdays. We bundled up in our long johns, hats, mitts, coats and gathered around the campfire for a yummy outdoor potluck dinner. The food was amazing as usual and a delicious birthday cake was had by all. I am always grateful for these times.

We had a good conversation about how our dinner parties are going to evolve over the next few months. A couple of people are creating outdoor living rooms with lights with a main campfire and a couple of fires in garbage cans so people can spread out. Someone suggested we all make chair liners from pieces of foam or old insulate pads. We had a conversation about having a “party pack” that you take to every event filled with stuff like a blanket, sleeping bag, hat and extra warm stuff to be prepared if you get cold. Finally we all acknowledged that our dinner parties will get shorter at times as it gets colder. We all agreed that we want to make the effort to stay connected and to eat together and we are willing to try.

My current favourite line to say is, “this is not the end of the story.” How we have to live now is not the end of our story. We are all evolving and responding and being creative and that all comes from within. Our story will keep evolving. Our intention to stay connected and eat good food doesn’t rely on the government or external activities. It comes from our hearts. Being grateful for the little things and each other, and making them happen.

This weekend is Thanksgiving and it is a great opportunity to talk about what you are grateful for, and how you can stay connected. Sharing ideas and talking about what you need to stay strong. We are all different and need to say what is going to help. My star gazing friend (who we are grateful for always keeping us informed) gave us some great sky news to look out for in the next month. The planet Mars is only days away from making its closest approach to Earth. It is in the eastern sky in the early evening and it is best seen on Oct. 13, but you can watch it starting tonight.

Also, there are two full moons in October which is rare and therefore called the blue moons. I am always grateful for the evening sky. I will be outside by a campfire soaking it in! Happy Thanksgiving all.

Lynda Shadbolt is a regular columnist for the Haliburton Echo.