We’re headed to Moab today for a last gasp of mountain biking, 4 wheeling and other recreation. I was thinking this morning it would be nice to blog something about Thanksgiving, and realized today’s holiday can be so many things to so many people, but the basics remain; the basics of giving Thanks. I was looking around for nice ways of saying that and found this prayer from that well known pioneer environmentalist St. Francis. I thought his words to be particularly beautiful because they speak so much to the grandness and sublimity of nature that we backcountry skiers love to revel in — that which elicits so much joy and laughter in our lives and we are indeed so thankful for. While reading this it occurred to me that when he writes “we praise you,” that’s really a beautiful humble way of giving thanks that acknowledges how much we depend on things outside of ourselves for what we have — whatever our belief system. Check it out:
The Canticle of the Creatures
Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, honor and blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong;
no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.
We praise You, Lord, for all Your creatures,
especially for Brother Sun,
who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor,
of You Most High, he bears your likeness.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars,
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
We praise You, Lord, for Brothers Wind and Air,
fair and stormy, all weather’s moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.
We praise You, Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night.
He is beautiful, playful, robust, and strong.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Earth,
who sustains us
with her fruits, colored flowers, and herbs.
We praise You, Lord, for those who pardon,
for love of You bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
by You Most High, they will be crowned.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in their sins!
Blessed are those that She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.
We praise and bless You, Lord, and give You thanks,
and serve You in all humility.
-St. Francis of Assisi
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.