22 November

Gratitude Week

by Jon Katz
Gratitude Week: Gus And Fate.

I love modernity and change, but I do not love the corruption of Thanksgiving by greedy American capitalists and their gullible followers. Tomorrow, Maria and I will not be at a mall looking for bargains, we’re heading to Brattleboro to spend the day there, and stay one night in a funky old hotel, very much a work in progress and charming for that.

If we are lucky, we might catch a movie. We have reservations for a Thanksgiving meal in a local restaurant, I’m bringing my new biography of Henry David Thoreau and am very excited to read it.

I’ve converted this holiday to what I call Gratitude Week, every day I recount the many gifts in my life:

I am grateful for the boundless and deep love for and from Maria, who has brought me in from the darkness and the cold. I am grateful that we found each other, every minute of every day. She is my light and my salvation. You can find love at any point if you are open to it.

I am grateful for my daughter Emma, my granddaughter Robin, my sister Jane, the remainders of my family. I am lucky to have them all in my life.

I am grateful for my books, I just finished my 27th – Gus And the Small And Big Lessons Of Bedlam Farm – and sent it off to my publisher. I love writing books.

I am grateful for my blog, now in its tenth year. It is the very soul of my creative live, and I am lucky to have work that does not ever feel like work. I am committed to my blog, it is my living memoir.

I am grateful to the many people who have followed me, supported me, tolerated me, survived me and made my dream come true – to be a writer every day of my working life.

I am grateful for my photography, which has helped me to see the world anew. Every day of my life.

I am grateful for the animals here, Lulu and Fanny, Red, Fate and Gus. They give dimension and love to all of the parts of my life.

I am especially grateful to Red, who has brought me into therapy work with so much love and grace. And to Fate, who has taught me acceptance and patience, and to Gus, who has reminded me that big spirits can live in the smallest body.

I give thanks to Robbin Gibbons for breeding such a wonderful creature and selling him to us.

I am even grateful to the sheep, dumb as they are.

I am very grateful for my farm, my Mother on this earth, she has taught me so much about life.

I am grateful to the Mansion for permitting me to come  in and take photos and write about life among the elderly in America, what a gift for me. And grateful to know the staff and residents, I love them dearly. I am grateful for RISSE and the refugees and immigrants I have met. I look forward to getting to know them better.

I am grateful to my friends, who are always there for me and accept me and all of my foolishness. I think every day of Scott and his hard work and big heart, and the Gulleys and their farm. I wish him a restful and peaceful year, and a profitable one as well.

I am grateful for my country, especially in this time of division and conflict.

I am indebted forever to the Army Of Good, we have forged a path to mercy and compassion that is sustained so many of us during these difficult days. It is better to do good that argue about what good is. We will get through this together.

Thank you for your support.

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the brave women who are standing up to tell their stories on behalf of all of us. I am grateful for the men who are listening, myself included.

Above all, I am grateful for my life, and for my rebirth, and for  my real teachers – Campbell, Merton, Augustine, Berry, Arendt, Thoreau, the true Jesus, and others. They have shaped and guided me.

I suppose the list is quite a bit longer if I thought about it, but this is good enough for now. I am the luckiest man on the earth, everyone has it worse than I do. I am grateful for every minute of every hour of my life.

I hope the same is true to you.

We leave tomorrow at noon. Today I will be running the Mansion Poetry Workshop, we are making some beautiful music. When I get back I will share a poem with you.


  1. Hi Jon I am grateful for the many years of reading your blog, in fact almost from the beginning. Thank you so much. BTW I recently read that sheep, of all 🦓 animals, can recognize faces. I thought you, of all people, would like to know 😉

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