Showing a Little Gratitude for My Natural Surroundings

It’s the weekend before Thanksgiving! Time to rest up for Wednesday night- the biggest bar night of the year. Yep, it surpasses New Years’ Eve even! To be followed by Thursday’s eat-a-thon, then Friday’s shopping madness. Yeah, we sure know how to show our gratitude.


Ah, but we each have a choice as to how we spend our free time. And how many of you really need a cheap television?

Here in Tennessee, Black Friday guided hikes are being offered at each of our 56 state parks. I signed up for one where I’ll learn about the forced removal of the Cherokee from these lands. And while I was checking out the offerings, I found another hike in December to explore an Indian mound complex. What a way to simultaneously exercise my body and mind!

Cummins Falls State Park (photo from
State parks also educate us about local wildlife and ways the parks are working to protect native species as well as as their habitat. I noticed several offerings geared toward bird-watching and plan to include one of those treks in my future. I love birds, though I don’t know as much about them as I’d like, so this would be a great chance to learn about birds in the area.

And park staff are amazing! When I called to inquire about the Indian mound hike, the park ranger I spoke with talked to me maybe 10 minutes about the hike and even gave directions on how to get to the trailhead. He also told me I chose a great time to visit the area because this particular site will be featured in an upcoming Nat Geo show and should see much more traffic come January.

Federal and state parks are one of those contentious issues that was thrown up during this election. Now would be a good time to enjoy a park, because we may not have them for much longer.




7 thoughts on “Showing a Little Gratitude for My Natural Surroundings

  1. The situation with the forced removal of the Indians is pathetically sorrowful, one that is hardly mentioned and yet one our our nation’s biggest disgraces. Thinking of that with a heavy heart, I hope your trek there is a good experience for you. We’re pretty low key this end. Wishing you all well, every day.

  2. How very cool Jen!!! I am one of the only people who remember that without the native peoples’ acceptance we would not be celebrating….
    Have a good time!!!

  3. I hope you enjoy your hike on Black Friday! That’s a much better way to spend the day than buying stuff no one needs.

  4. guess what we do at thanksgiving in Indiana…close down most of the parks twice this month so that hunters can slaughter deer there in the parks…to share with the poor…even deer I assume that have TB? maybe hunters should stay home and invite the poor over and share some creative salads and desserts instead of “harvesting” deer…and an amendment just got ratified that that these dopes can hunt and feesh until the end of time…forever…no more animal activists to deter them from their murdering ways…praise the lord and pass the ammunition. oh, and the crops are protected from hungry deer…and wildflowers are so special…and traffic accidents are prevented? except when the deer families get flushed onto the roadways and highways from all the shooting and bow and arrowing. oh, Indiana…our Indiana…

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