December Reflections – 2018

Carol A. Hand

Reasons To Be Thankful – I

Pinto’s pre-adoption photo (He’s a Papillon-Chihuahua Mix, or “Chion”)


I know I’m not what you were looking for
to ease the loneliness and sadness of loss
I’m too little and the wrong gender
but I really am meant to be your friend
I promise to make you laugh
and touch your heart with my cuteness

I’ll raise my head in song



and trot down the sidewalk
with my waving tail held high

I’ll lick your feet
even though you don’t like it
just to remind you I care

Please be kind and take me with you
to a new forever home
I promise you that you won’t regret it


Ready to go for a walk on a cold rainy day – October 7, 2018


I know you love me but, oh, the indignity
of this cobbled-together winter suit you make me wear.


Reasons To Be Thankful – II

Endings are often exciting new beginnings. So it was last evening as my colleague and I listened to the students we have been working with during the past semester share their final research and community practice presentations.

This past semester, we focused on the connections between access to clean water and community health. The assignments involved exploring prior research, proposing and conducting a small study, and planning a community event to raise awareness about issues surrounding their community’s drinking water and waterways.


Lake Superior, the source of drinking water for many surrounding communities – June 17, 2017


Although final classes often mean saying goodbye to people one has learned to care about, there is also a sense of gratitude for the chance to encourage others to celebrate the wonders of life. Learning how to “do research” can help us remember the wonder and curiosity we felt about life and the world around us as children.

There is no way of predicting what the future effects of these lessons will be, but my colleague and I have done what we can to open hearts and minds to possibilities.

“I didn’t realize how much I learned until I looked back at where I started.”

“I never thought about the importance of water before.”

“Doing this study helped me learn so much more about the issues in my community.”

We ended our final class by sharing part of the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address:

“We give thanks to all of the waters of the world for quenching our thirst, for providing strength and nurturing life for all beings. We know its power in many forms – waterfalls and rain, mists and streams, rivers and oceans, snow and ice. We are grateful that the waters are still here meeting their responsibility to the rest of Creation. Can we agree that water is important in our lives and bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to the Water? Now our minds are one.” (as cited in Kimmerer, 2013, p. 108).

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to teach in partnership with a dear colleague who has worked hard to create a liberatory space and to our students who give me hope for the future.

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught” (Baba Dioum)

Some links to explore for more information about the  Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address:

Source Cited:

Robin Wall Kimmerer (2013). Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions.

36 thoughts on “December Reflections – 2018

  1. That is a good looking pup. And a good singer. She would be running Willow in a second. I’m glad to hear the classes went so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a delightful dog perspective, made me smile. But the one that really moved me was the wonderful piece about connecting and thanksgiving – two rich things we desperately need in our world right now.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Paul, thank you once again for your always thoughtful, lovely comments. It has been a gift to see and be grateful for our connections to nature and each other more intensely in order to have something of value to share with my grandchildren and students. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your little companion is so sweet, Carol. I went back and read the stories. The video is so funny. I think I could recognize the flower duet even if the ‘background’ version was muted 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Inese, for your delightful comments. You have an amazing ear for music! It is, indeed, the Flower Duet. It is Pinto’s favorite song. Although he does sing along with others, he can’t resist lifting his head to join in whenever he hears the Flower Duet and it never fails to make me smile or laugh because he is so serious and adorable when he sings. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy New Year, my friend! How wonderful you could see the sparks of passion and learning in your students over a topic that needs more attention in this society. Your poem made me smile, especially with the winter suit–my mom’s got winter coat and boots for her dog, and he utterly loathes them. 🙂 xxxxx

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