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Grateful – Neville Ronan Blog

There was no thanksgiving, growing up in Ireland. It’s a uniquely American tradition, yet it never ceases to amaze me how many American’s don’t know that.

So, I don’t celebrate that day … it is just another Thursday on the calendar for me.

That being said, I am happy for my American friends that get to share such wonderful time with their families. I truly am. And I wish them all a Happy Thanksgiving!

But, what it meant for me this morning was that there was no natural mid-week block on where I could go today to catch the sunrise. You see, if I position myself on the other side of the bay during a weekday twilight, all of a sudden I am in knee deep traffic trying to cross the city again and go home.

Which is why all my weekday mornings are spent east of the city.

But today at five o’clock, I was in the car happily heading across to St Pete to see what the morning might look like over there.

And it was a stunningly beautiful morning here in the greater Tampa Bay area. Temperature at that time of the morning was high fifties, the air was so fresh and clear, and the skies were only hosting the stars, as far as I could see. Not a cloud anywhere.

Traffic was non-existent on the way over, so I got there well over an hour before sunrise. I hadn’t been on the new St Pete Pier, since they redeveloped it so that became my destination of choice. But as I had time to spare, I stopped and shot that lovely art creation at the near-end of the pier. (pics 1 and 2)

Then as the horizon began to get some definition, I wandered off down the pier to the end.

It is a seriously beautiful pier and the folks who created this did an amazing job. St Pete clearly has people with a wonderful art-vision planning their city. Hats off to them.

The end of the pier stepped out onto the bay and gave a lovely view of the horizon and I have put a collection of images at the end of the blog. Hope you enjoy.

I was generally pleased with myself as I walked back to the car and set out for home again. I didn’t hang around for sunrise. It broke the horizon as I crossed the bay on the Howard Frankland Bridge and I just breathed in the continued beauty all the way home.

It was on that drive that I began to think about all the folks across the country that will be finding something they are thankful for and sharing it with family and friends.

Personally, I don’t like the notion of “giving thanks” as if something has done something for you, for which you now need to express gratitude. Perhaps if I was one of the god-folk, I might assign all the happy things in my life to some old dude in the sky and dutifully tip my hat and give thanks.

But hey, if that is what floats your boat, then go for it.

Yet the whole day that is in it, did get me thinking of people that I have lost over this past year or so and how genuinely lucky I was to have been able to share some time and love with them.

Losing people is a tragic event and in many ways can be soul-destroying. But the simple truth is that at least we had them for a while and that is worth the pain.

Brittany, Ashlee, Meredith, Joey … they were wonderful people that gave different levels of love into my life and despite their loss to me, I am truly grateful to have known each of them. And my little Fluffy took a major peace of my heart with him when he was killed, but each moment I got to spend with him was something to treasure.

At the moments that are close to the time of loss, it is hard not to focus on the loss itself. Though in most cases the feeling of loss never goes away, over time we can also begin to recall some of the love and the happier moments we got to share beforehand.

My Mam and Dad are gone a few years now and though the feeling of loss is still huge, I am just beginning to restore some happier moments of them towards the front of my mind.

There is a thought I have heard expressed, that is very much true; that those of us that have lost the most are the lucky ones, as we had something so wonderful to have lost in the first place.

So, on a day like today when those around me give thanks for something or other, I feel grateful to those that have passed this way for having taken part of their journey through my life.

… just a thought.


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