Suppose you were stranded on a deserted island in the South Pacific hundreds of miles from the nearest, well-traveled sea-lane. You’re all alone. Occasionally, you see the fin of a circling shark. It is a small island; probably less than an acre, there is a small stand of coconut palms, a few deserted shells lying around, some grass and minor shrubbery. And……..
Miracle of miracles, there is a plant about three feet high with four yellow blossoms. Those flowers weren’t on that plant when you drifted to shore last night. Aren’t they beautiful? Aren’t they amazing? You remember that you have a plant like that back home in Arizona, in your backyard; it has new blossoms nearly every day. You wonder if this will blossom daily. You remember the gratitude that you felt every morning when you went out on the patio to read the Arizona Republic and you saw the flowers. You never removed one. You linger on that picture for a moment and try to feel the memory of gratitude but you discover that you can’t. And, you wonder if it is even possible to relive a feeling. Probably, you say to yourself if you pay a hypnotist a hundred dollars or so to help you with that. But for the moment the only feeling available to you is a kind of blank, puzzlement.
Now, I know that this is just pretend stuff that we’re doing here but bear with me, will you please? Be honest. Are you grateful for the flowers that you have right this second or are you in a panic because you nearly died last night? Apparently there were no other survivors. In fact, there is no sign that you were ever on this tour-boat. Surely there is debris nearby. You’re afraid to venture into these waters because of the sharks, right?
But, are you certain that these big sea critters are sharks? They could be small whales, or porpoises or dolphins even. Maybe if you waded out into the water one would come over and say hey there, let’s play horsey. Okay, I apologize. That was kind of crude. But as long as we’re imagining this event, let’s say you didn’t get here on a cruise ship. You got here in a time machine. That fin could be on the back of an ichthyosaur. And unless you can remember walking into a Dr. Whovian phone booth with one or more companions, you are definitely alone on this planet. And since you have no knowledge of Jurassic geography, this little island with the warm currents and fish and coconuts is yours for the duration. So……..
How do you feel? Probably a wide range of feelings right? Would you say that the heavier side of the scale leans more toward gratitude or toward feelings of danger?
There probably won’t be a Thanksgiving turkey, or pumpkin pie, but there are seventeen coconuts and one large vertebrate swimming around, courting you with its dorsal fin.
Have a lovely Thanksgiving.