Fall foliage in all its splendor. Forest Glades [CC By 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

As we prepare for Thanksgiving this week, taking time to reflect on all we are grateful for, I find that many of the greatest gifts in my life come from the natural world.

In honor of that, here is a random list of 10 natural joys for which I am thankful. Please extend the spirit within our Good Nature community by sharing some of yours, too!

1)   The sharp clarity of the blue Colorado sky above my head

2)   The song of the first meadowlark of spring, and the last cricket’s chirp of early autumn, heralding the seasons’ turns

3)   The smell of rain on sage in the high desert

4)  Purple wildflowers: lupine, gentian, monkshood, mountain harebells

5)   Lions’ eyes, like those I looked into in Botswana last summer

6)  A hundred (or more!) shades of green in a tropical rainforest

7)  Swimming with friendly sea lions in the Galapagos, where wildlife are utterly nonchalant about human presence

8) Picking wild huckleberries as a child in the Washington Cascades, filling two and three coffee cans at a time, and relishing the drippy purple pies and berry-studded pancakes my grandparents made

9)  Wild rivers that have never been dammed or diverted

10) Making eye contact with a friendly gray whale that spent nearly an hour alongside our boat in Baja

I could go on, and on! Why don’t you add to this list instead?  And may the year to come be one in which you have many opportunities to be thankful for nature’s riches, whether far afield or in your own backyard.