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Scarcity and Abundance

We live in a world of scarcity and abundance. I see it in nature, where wildlife adjusts to a world of dwindling food, scrapping together something to eat in the dormant forest. A newly-filled birdfeeder sets off an alarm in the woods, and no sooner do I walk away from it that it’s filled with the boldest of foragers — black-capped chickadees and such. Soon the turkey, squirrels and blue jays will appear. In a world of scarcity this gift of food quickly garners attention.

A pair of deer walked slowly through the mud and runoff from the recent rains. They know they’re relatively safe in these woods, for hunters can’t reach them so close to houses. I inch closer to try to get a decent picture and eventually spook them. They splash away a hundred yards or so and reassess the danger I present to them. Armed with an iPhone, the most dangerous thing I can do to them is spook them into the deeper forests in town, where the hunters are. I walk slowly back towards the house and leave them be.

The only thing that’s abundant now are the millions of brown leaves blanketing the ground, mocking me for my excuses. I chose to pay someone to remove the leaves this year, a nod to the extensive time away but a bit frivolous for an otherwise active adult. I could have done it, the leaves taunt, and I silently agree. Yardwork is a favorite workout, and I’ve deprived myself of it this year. I find myself hoping the landscaper comes soon so I don’t have to hear the leafy voices anymore.

In New Hampshire, we look towards Thanksgiving as a time to celebrate the abundance of the harvest and the time to share it with others. All this extra downtime waiting for someone else to pick up the leaves offers too much time to think. It’s not the same anymore, Thanksgiving, and yet we have so much to be thankful for. I can’t help but think of what’s missing this year, but remind myself to focus on what you do have. Life is a balancing act between scarcity and abundance. We must plan for the former and not overindulge in the latter. And in those moments when things seem a little out of balance it helps to pause and catch your breath.

The world dances all around us in a blur of motion and stillness. Wildlife scrapping life together one day at a time and the leaves returning to the earth after their season in the sun. Who are we to refuse this gift of the present dwelling on what’s missing? Focus on what’s here, friend. And be thankful.

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