A Thanksgiving message | AspenTimes.com

A Thanksgiving message

In these times where perception dictates reality and the need to bridge differences becomes ever more imperative, I would like to call attention to an inspiring example that occurred 400 years ago in Patuxet/Plimoth.

Gratitude leads to higher ground; it’s a vehicle to expanded realities. When the Pilgrims and the Pokanokets met in the spring of 1621 and created a mutual protection agreement embodying mutual respect, they were both coming from experiencing a radical shift in their realities — the Pokanoket had lost huge numbers in “The Great Dying” of 1616-1618 due to the plague that had come down from the North, spread by the Tarratines War. The Pilgrims had lost half their people due to “The Generall Sicknesse” caused by scurvy and extreme cold and unfamiliar organisms in the water during the winter of 1620/1621, having arrived in December in a mini-ice age.

The Pokanokets were being threatened by their neighbors the Narragansetts and needed allies; the Pilgrims had experienced a hostile welcome by the Nausets on Cape Cod upon their arrival — imagine their gratitude when Samoset strode into their village-in-the-making and said “Welcome, Englishmen!”

The leaders of these two disparate groups were visionaries, and they saw each other’s humanity and kept their people in peace during the decades that followed, until their deaths. Fifty-four years of peace, friendship and resulting cultural interchange birthed something important — it birthed the American mind, spirit and democracy. It’s a key origin story of a yet-to-be great nation. A nation in process.

What can gratitude do for us now, as we suffer great loss of life, livelihood, and life-ways, as we face radical differences of perception and perspective amongst friends and family members and fellow humans. Can we come together and birth something new now? Can we tap into our common humanity and feel gratitude for having life and living during these exciting and transformative times?

Can we be inspired by what happened then, and use that inspiration to rise to higher levels now? Yes we can, and we will!

Connie Baxter Marlow

Woody Creek