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Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

"I every conceivable way, the family is a link to our past, a bridge to our future."

                                --Alex Haley

It is Thanksgiving Day here in the states. Traditionally a day for families and friends to gather to express their appreciation for the lives we have and those people who we are surrounded with.

It is, no doubt, in some circles a controversial holiday built upon a largely inaccurate view of pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down to a friendly feast to celebrate the harvest. Yes, we all know what horrors our ancestors then set upon the locals. No forgiveness for the white men who did the deed, but perhaps today we can seek a new way and appreciate the diverse cultures that make up the tapestry of modern America.

I am thankful for a job and lifestyle which afford me the opportunity to travel, to experience so much of that American tapestry as well as the fabric of other societies around the world. 2013 has been a remarkably traveling year, as I will cover in a future blog entry, and several of the places I have visited have given me a glimpse into Native American and First Peoples cultures. Plus, in my new job I get to work directly with America's Indian tribes, which is a new and exciting opportunity to see the culture as it currently stands, not just the history as contained in a tourist attraction or historic site.

As I write this I am with family in Maryland, up early to get the traditional turkey into the smoker in time for a late afternoon meal. My brother in law sets it in place above a small pile of coals and cherry wood, and we all retire to the family room for coffee and bagels.

Today is the day Americans have set aside to give thanks, but there's no reason we cannot affirm that sentiment on a daily basis. And no reason other lands cannot share the sentiment with us. It's not about the history or the traditions, it's about looking at our lives and realizing that -- no matter the challenges -- there is hope and love and promise in the world.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it, and this year also a special Happy Hannukah to our Jewish friends. And to everyone else, please give a moment for thanks for what you have, and what the future holds.

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