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JANICE WELLS: Being thankful for all our blessings

With friends Catherine and Lucy, on an ordinary day by an ordinary pond in a not so ordinary city in an extraordinary place to live. — Photo by an ordinary (ie friendly) Newfoundlander who wouldn’t give her name.
With friends Catherine and Lucy, on an ordinary day by an ordinary pond in a not so ordinary city in an extraordinary place to live. — Photo by an ordinary (ie friendly) Newfoundlander who wouldn’t give her name. - Janice Wells

I think I could be described as a glass half full kind of person. You might think it’s been hard to keep that up in 2020.

On the contrary — 2020 has made me aware more than ever of how full our collective glass is because we live in Newfoundland.

It’s Thanksgiving and I am very thankful. Oh, like us all, I have things that I’m not thankful for, but they are insignificant compared with most of the world.

If by now you’re groaning that “this is going to be another one of her annual Pollyannaish Thanksgiving columns” you would be right so you might as well get in the spirit.

A swan enjoying the tranquility of Mundy pond. — Janice Wells photo - Janice Wells
A swan enjoying the tranquility of Mundy pond. — Janice Wells photo - Janice Wells

 

However, I’m not going to focus on how thankful I am that my sisters and my daughters are also my best friends or that my children and grandchildren all live close enough for me to see them all the time or that I have good food every day and a warm comfortable bed to sleep in and all my other blessings.

I am aware that not everyone is as fortunate as I am, but there is one thing for which I am enormously thankful in 2020 more than ever.

I live in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and, more specifically, on the island of Newfoundland.

I am thankful for just about everything that entails.

Like our climate; our temperatures are moderate. I don’t recall it ever being so cold or hot that we were warned to stay indoors.

Yes, we started the year with Snowmageddon which created considerable hardship for many, but was also a bit of an adventure and a time of caring and sharing.

We get the scattered blizzard but we don’t have to worry about devastating hurricanes every single fall. The hurricanes that we do get bad effects from have probably already taken lives and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses further down the Atlantic.

We don’t get perilous heat waves or draughts.

Our worst wildfires cannot compare to the infernos that are common in California.

Like our society — gun fanatics and mass shootings, white supremacists and riots aren’t part of our lives. Period.

Like the fact that masks are something new to us. We’ve never had to wear them to protect ourselves from the quality of the air we breathe.

The first few times I wore mine I couldn’t help but think of the crowds we see on television, in places like Tokyo and Hong Kong, wearing masks just to breathe safe air as they walk down the street.

And on the subject of masks, we are sensibly wearing them as a precaution. We know we don’t have much risk of becoming very sick or dying from COVID-19 because our governments have made good decisions and because the vast majority of our fellow Newfoundlanders are making good decisions.

And if all that weren’t enough, not only is no one in Newfoundland miles away from nature, we’re all surrounded by it. Whales and icebergs are part of life.

Even St. John’s, our “big city” is full of nature.

We can choose from an abundance of groomed walking trails; around a cliff, a pond or lake, or by a river. We have quick access to hills overlooking the ocean, fishing communities and more history than anywhere in North America.

On a birding field trip with Jared Clarke I saw 19 species of birds just around Quidi Vidi Lake. (Note to Jared, how about another outing?)

This week I enjoyed changing leaves, fresh air and sunshine, swans, ducks and rock doves in Mundy Pond, had a super lunch in a friend’s house and stocked up on books, picked up fresh vegetables and came home to blue jays, chickadees, juncos, nuthatches, pine siskens, and a robin in my backyard.

All in one afternoon.

If I’d taken a different route home I could have breathed salt air, listened to the cries of gulls and maybe seen an osprey or heard a loon.

What people live with in much of the world is tragic. What’s going on south of the border is crazy.

What’s happening in Ontario and Quebec with COVID-19 is scary.

We are blessed.

Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. She can be reached at [email protected] (or [email protected])

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