A Thanksgiving family hike in Southern Illinois to the Cache River, ancient Ohio River flood plain, and Herrin Pond, a remnant cypress swamp that somehow escaped the mass cutting and drainage characteristic of the early 20thy century. Quite warm for a late November day. Even the frogs and turtles were lounging about in the warm sun.

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day—
        and to her soil: rich, rare and sweet
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing, light-changing leaf
        and fine root-hairs; standing still through wind
        and rain; their dance is in the flowering spiral grain
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and silent
        Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
        clear spirit breeze
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,
        freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;
        self-complete, brave and aware
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
        holding or releasing; streaming through all
        our bodies salty seas
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
        trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
        bears and snakes sleep— he who wakes us—
                            in our minds so be it.

Gratitude to the Great Sky
        who holds billions of stars— and goes yet beyond that—
        beyond all powers, and thoughts
        and yet is within us—
        Grandfather Space.
        The Mind is his Wife.
                            so be it.

                                               Gary Snyder—after a Mohawk prayer