Giving Thanks

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154956_5209107871_48934a6c57_z.jpgThanksgiving greetings and wishes to teachers of writing everywhere. I am certainly counting my blessings today, as I expect you are. I’m grateful that I’m still here on the planet and that I have sisters, nephews, nieces, and grandnieces to hold close and cherish. And I’m forever grateful to students I have known over some fifty-plus years now, who have taught me so much and shared so much of their lives with me. Just this week I had a chance to visit with a former student, from China, who is now working on a PhD in neuroscience, to break bread with her and to hear about her accomplishments and setbacks, her worries and also her dreams. I hope I remembered to thank her. So here’s to those who teach and to those who learn. And here’s a gift that I come back to regularly when I am giving thanks: Wendell Berry’s haunting, and comforting, “The Peace of Wild Things.”

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

--Openings: Poems, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1968

[Photo: Happy Thanksgiving everyone! by Satya Murthy on Flickr]

About the Author
Andrea A. Lunsford is the former director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University and teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English. A past chair of CCCC, she has won the major publication awards in both the CCCC and MLA. For Bedford/St. Martin's, she is the author of The St. Martin's Handbook, The Everyday Writer and EasyWriter; The Presence of Others and Everything's an Argument with John Ruszkiewicz; and Everything's an Argument with Readings with John Ruszkiewicz and Keith Walters. She has never met a student she didn’t like—and she is excited about the possibilities for writers in the “literacy revolution” brought about by today’s technology. In addition to Andrea’s regular blog posts inspired by her teaching, reading, and traveling, her “Multimodal Mondays” posts offer ideas for introducing low-stakes multimodal assignments to the composition classroom.