It's a warm Thanksgiving on Florida's west coast - a day of clouds looming and threats of thunder storms that never materialized. I have never in my life gotten to have Thanksgiving dinner while comfortably wearing shorts and sandals. So there's that to be grateful for. Not to mention that finally, my family is together again after we'd been strewn across the continent. And while we're still in monetary recovery after the vast awful that was Autolycus's final illness followed rapidly by Hatshepsut's near brush with the grim feline reaper, we ARE recovering. For that we are entirely grateful.
Part of being grateful is sharing the good fortune. The first place I like to send my support is a (now) local charity that will surprise exactly no one who knows me:
Big Cat Rescue
They are one of the largest accredited big cat sanctuaries in the world. They take in big cats from all over the US and, in some cases, the world. They advocate for the shift in legislation throughout the US to end the trade of big cats - either as 'pets', performers, or for fur harvest. They take amazing care of their animals and many of their cats live to unheard of ages because of it. You can also take tours - no - no petting or contact with the cats. They are a sanctuary and that means preserving the cats in as wild a state as possible within the confines of not being able to return them to the wild. When they rescue injured bobcats or panthers, they DO return the animals to the wild after they've been rehabilitated. Still. I can recommend the tour. There's nothing like hearing a cougar purr at you. Or Joseph lion roaring.
Because politics. This group is a grassroots movement aimed at using small, public contributions to elect citizens to office. Term limits are a big ticket item for this group. They're working at city and state levels in order to build momentum for bigger races. Defeating a super PAC in a national election is the goal. It's also possible I'm channeling some $$ to specific candidates whose goals align with mine. I cannot legally take a flamethrower to the current Pennywise the Clown and minions inhabiting the halls of government, so this is the next best thing that won't end with me in prison.
Because it's all about habitat. We know that wildlife requires land that humans haven't paved over. We get that if we want to go on breathing we need trees. And algae. And plankton. But who wants to dedicate a vast tract of their farm land to preserving a weird three spotted lizard? Or a rare venomous spider? The Nature Conservancy takes a realistic view of preserving land for wildlife. They buy it. Or trade tracts of critical habitat for other land that can then be used by humans. Their success stories are pretty good.
Bonus: Check out Charitywater.org
I think that especially when life is difficult - in the midst of loss - it's vital to take a moment daily to practice gratitude and to say thank you. So thank you. I am grateful you're here.