Since on the East Coast it is already Thanksgiving, and my family has started roping me into joining the family 'festivities' as of about an hour ago, I suppose it's about time to think about getting into a mood of thanksgiving. Actually this week it is a pretty easy task, but I have a lot more to be thankful for than just the past few Celtic Thunder themed days.
1. The first thing that comes to mind this year, still, is Ryan Kelly's rather miraculous recovery this summer. I would be thankful even just knowing he survived his accident, but to have him on tour with Celtic Thunder this season, and completely recovered, indeed better than ever, that I am truly grateful for. That I got to meet him and talk with him this week, twice, is just icing on an already amazing cake.
2. Second on my list this year has to be all the great friends I have met in Fort Collins and elsewhere. I do remember what it was like back in 2009 when I was new to this town, and all my friends lived someplace else. I've always had friends, of course, but that year was pretty lonely for quite a while. Everything I've been involved in here and every new community I am introduced to brings me new friends and good acquaintances, an ever-growing network of fantastic people who make everyday life a lot easier, and a lot more fun.
3. Third, I am grateful for all the great music available at my fingertips. Most people have a particular tolerance for music, and can't spend more than a few hours a day listening to music. I, on the other hand, turn on music shortly after I wake up, and turn it off only when I am ready to go to bed at night. I sing in choir, as well, and am working at learning to play my bodhran and tin whistle. Music is pretty much as vital to my life as water or oxygen. Our society creates so much great music, and it is available on services like spotify, where I can access it cheaply and easily all day. Music is very easy to listen to now online, and so easy to buy- I can only vaguely recall those days of only listening to a small collection of cassette tapes or CDs and whatever the local radio stations play.
4. Fourth, I am grateful for the Internet more generally. Yes, social media is scary and intimidating for most older generations, but it is also amazing. I have been watching events unfold between Israel and Palestine over twitter, and getting updates about my favorite singers' new music, and watching new music videos within seconds of their being made available to the public. I can keep in touch with the hundreds of people I am facebook friends with, simultaneously, holding ongoing conversations with several of them at once, while sharing photos, commenting on friends' adventures, and planning outings for next week. It would not be physically possible for me to remain in contact with so many friends 'the old-fashioned way'. I bought my bodhran and penny-whistle online, I buy Irish tea online, and since my CD-player died, I buy all my music as mp3 albums, downloaded off the various Internet stores. Since all these transactions are fast and require no travel time, I have more time free to read, go hiking, hang out with friends, or see more live music shows.
5. Last but not least, I am grateful for the various circumstances which led me to see music blogging as part of a career path, a viable alternative to academia. As in any life, there are always moments when we make those seemingly insignificant choices, and this year those choices added up to something rather interestingly different. Ryan Kelly of course played a vital and complex part- had he never been injured I may still eventually have wound up heading in the direction I am going now, but I doubt I would have done so much so quickly without the sudden shock of June 3rd. In working out how to respond to what was going on in the Celtic Thunder community that week, I wound up on the track I have settled into more securely ever since. June was a scary month- those first few weeks will stand out in my memory for a very long time, maybe forever- but sometimes even these scary and terrible times can produce interesting and constructive results.
Enough introspection for one holiday post. I just (finally) bought and listened to George Donaldson's album, The White Rose, which is a fantastic album, of course. So, between that, the Fierce Bad Rabbit/Sour Boy Bitter Girl show from a bit over a week ago, the Danielle Ate the Sandwich show from this past Sunday, and all the other music stuff going on, the next few posts will no doubt be all about music, and not just all about Celtic Thunder. But, in the meantime, take a moment and think of the 5 things you are most grateful for this year. We as a society spend a lot of time griping about everything, but every so often it behooves us to remind ourselves of all the things in our lives that are good. Happy Thanksgiving!