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Season of Bounty, Season of Thanks

The most wonderful time of the year starts now

      The great wheel of the year is turning. This time of year, the rotation is plain to see. 
      With Daylight Savings Time banished for another five months, real time throws us into early darkness deeper and denser than 10pm on a summer’s night.
      Leaves are dropping by the millions. As their dense canopy falls, the horizon opens up as if a mountain range had disappeared. 
     Plus — get out your coats and gloves — it’s getting colder.
      The year of 2017, which so recently seemed new, is rushing away.
     Time is on our minds. Little wonder we fill these last five weeks of each dying year with festivals: Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Years. 
     Thus Bay Weekly’s celebration of the winter holidays begins this week. Your paper is so heavy because inside the regular November 16 issue is Seasons Bounty, Your Essential Guide to the Holidays.
     This annual special edition stuffs its 56 pages with seasonal opportunities for you, the kids, family, friends and visitors. In it, you’ll find Illuminations, Shops and Sales, Santa Sightings, Holidays at the Theater, Skate Your Way into the Holidays and a day-by-day calendar — all gathered by calendar editor Kathy Knotts — plus dozens of advertisers offering wondrous things. 
      By the time you get to next week’s paper — on the streets Wednesday, November 22 — you’re likely to have celebrated Thanksgiving. So we honor that distinctive holiday in this week’s paper. 
     We’re not the only nation that celebrates a national holiday in honor of the harvest. Nine is the official count, with Canada’s November 6 feast day most like our own.
     Unique or not, Thanksgiving is a holiday we’re lucky to have. Had the Pilgrims starved like the Jamestown colonists … or had the Wampanoag tribe of Native Americans seen into the future, Thanksgiving might never have been.
      Once upon a time, I might have wished novelty onto the Thanksgiving table. But I’m old enough now to rejoice in turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie (our family pumpkin this year has already proved itself a good provider). Renewing the old tradition with my family gives me more reasons each year for thankfulness — and deeper understanding that good fortune is no blessing to take for granted.
     This is also the right time to increase the bounty of people in need. We’ll tell you more about how in next week’s paper. For now, we won’t mark you early if you stop by Bay Weekly with a delivery of toys for SOFO’s holiday drive for children in need along the Annapolis Forest Drive corridor. 
     This Thanksgiving, I hope gratitude can fill your heart beyond any trouble this year may have brought.