I’m a lucky guy. After a lifetime of knocks and scrapes I’ve still got my hair and most of my teeth. And a roof over my head, food in the fridge, and a wife that tolerates me. No complaints here.

I went out exploring today and found myself on Nickel Beach in Port Colborne. Waves crashed over the break wall as cold wind ripped at my winter coat, making my eyes water and rocking me back on my heels. It felt good to be alive. I smiled as I saw this gull striding purposefully along the beach in such weather. Crazy little thing, I thought.

Then I reminded myself he wasn’t out for fun. Unlike me, he had to be there. This bird was looking for food. All living things have to eat. Every day, gulls hunt from dawn until sunset to fill their bellies. If they don’t freeze or get eaten during the night, they do it all again the next day. And the next. And the next. It’s a hard life.

My thoughts then turned sombre. To the human factor. As the weather changes in this Northern hemisphere and we hunker down in our cozy homes for the cold winter months, I reflected that some people are homeless. Hungry. Wet. Cold. Freezing. Starving. Or worse. Once you are down, life does tend to keep kicking you.

Many of we fortunate ones spend much energy complaining. About jobs, spouses, salaries. Whatever. Sure, we would all like more. But on the other hand, we really should take time to be thankful for all that we have. And to spare a thought or two for those with less. Winter, like life, can be cold and hard. And we all gotta eat. I’m mindful that I don’t have to forage for scraps of food, and that I have a warm bed in which to curl up tonight. I am thankful.

Food bank, here I come.

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