ZUBIN
MATHAI
author of the oarsman
Thankfulness
November 10, 2016

I went for a bike ride this morning, and it was already 86 degrees (30℃) when I set out on the trail. The shade at the start was welcomed, making up for the lack of breeze, while the sunny sections offered a two-faced blanket: a warm one gently wrapping on the way down, and then a stifling one suffocating on the way back.

As I coasted downhill (my favorite part of the trail), feeling the warmth and sunshine on my arms, I thought back to growing up in Montreal. In November, some years it would be a beautiful autumn day, with the leaves colored beyond green and a crispness to the air. Other years it would already be cold, with a layer of snow everywhere.

As memories came, of walking around the town I grew up in, relishing the solitude that colder weather brought — for less people were out and about — I was thankful. I was thankful that I grew up in a place that had seasons, that had beautiful fall colors, and that air was something that tasted differently when cold or warm.

I contrasted those memories to the heat blanketing the bike trail and was thankful for today too. I am thankful to now live in a place without snow and barely any difference between the seasons. I am thankful for downhill sections of the trail, and, sometimes reluctantly, also the uphill sections.

I am thankful that, in one moment, there is someone here to be thankful, and in the next, there is only thankfulness itself riding a bike.