Founder’s Forum: November Is Gratitude Month

JB Lester The Healthy Planet

By J.B. Lester

November brings an end to the growing season and gives us time for gratitude. We are grateful for what the gardens have given us, and we honor the Earth for offering its bounty. As the temperatures tumble, crickets and other insects are busy laying their eggs and the spiders have spun their late season webs and soon will begin diapause. The trees have begun dropping their leaves and everyone knows that winter will soon be ushered in on the north wind. Cool evenings outside offer the smell of fireplaces and backyard firepits. I love that smell. Our family of feral cats are eating more, and I am sure looking for where they will spend the frosty nights. We offer up a few cat houses made from Styrofoam crates covered in plastic bags and filled with straw. They will always find food and water on our porch as their fur thickens as the chill sets in. This isn’t their first winter, and as semi-wild animals, they will do quite well to adapt.

We will honor the “leave the leaves” in our backyard this season as we hope to add rich nutrients to the soil and offer overwinter habitat for wildlife like lizards, birds, turtles, frogs and beneficial insects. Mulched leaves also help naturally aerate compacted soil which our area is known for and acts as a natural fertilizer. Having a more natural yard will also help reduce greenhouse gas and will aid the pollinators when Spring comes. A true sustainable circle of life.

November is not only a time to be grateful for nature’s bounty, but it is a time of reflection as well. Welcomed cooler weather is here as this summer was one of the hottest on record. Climate change is playing havoc with our seasons as we await what El Nino will bring us this winter. I have never been a fan of winter. As a Leo, I am a warm weather fan, but this summer was brutal, and I am happy to greet the old man from the North. 

This holiday season will be all about family, as it should be. With four grandchildren, Niki and I relish the role of grandparents. Now in the autumn of my life, I realize that most of my dreams have come, the most important being these little rascals that enhance our lives. As we will again celebrate Thanksgiving with everyone at the table saying what we are grateful for, I know in my heart there is no greater gift than the gift of family. For this I am grateful every day of my life.