November 27, 2003

By Michael Strickland


I'm back up at Rancho del Cielo, my parents' idyllic homestead in the Paso Robles wine country, to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with my family. I never grow tired of coming up here. There's no better place to escape the noise and stress of city life.

This morning, I took a morning constitutional, walking a couple of miles along the winding roads of the Santa Rita Ranchos, the hamlet in which my parents' ranch sits. All around me, the sights, sounds and smells of the country reminded me what real life is all about. A young buck and his doe warily marched across a hillside. The earthy smell of horse manure wafted on the breeze. The lazy creak of a windmill broke the otherwise perfect silence. No brake lights, no smog, no sirens. Life, uninterrupted.

Today, more than ever, I contemplate how thankful I am to have such a refuge—and to have so much in general. When I look back on my life of the past year, it can be easy to feel bitter about my financial struggles, career stagnation and relative instability. But I am a wealthy man in so many other, more important ways. I have a wonderful family, with whom it is a pleasure to spend time on holidays and vacations. I've made some special friends this year, and have shared some great times with them in some exciting places. My daily work schedule has included swimming with dolphins and penguins. Indeed, I have much to be thankful for.

We should all be similarly thankful. Our country has weathered some tough times this year, from terrorist threats to continuing layoffs, a foreign war to a struggling economy. But we are a wealthy country. Even with the problems we've faced as a whole, we enjoy a stable society, stores chock-full of groceries and other goods, a land full of opportunity: the fruits of freedom. The world is still a harsh place, and things could certainly be better. But we have so much to be thankful for.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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November Columns:

11/28: Family Willow
11/27: Thankful
11/24: Nuclear North Korea
11/21: All Jacko, All the Time
11/20: Mantrimony
11/19: Tutankhamen: Page One
11/18: The Dying Light
11/16: Back to the Grind
11/13: Overpriced
11/12: Land's End
11/11: Veterans' Day
11/10: Cabo Bound
11/9: Supercharged
11/8: Internet Buzz
11/7: Recharged?
11/5: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
11/4: No Wiggle Room
11/1: A Week Lost in Time
Previous months in The Archive

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