Thanksgiving, 2011

Thanksgiving dinner this year was again held with a small group of family and friends that I was very happy to have shared a table with.  While this past year has been difficult on many levels, these people have placed these difficulties in perspective and helped me to realize that almost *all* of these problems are first world problems.  I am grateful for that and for them.

I am grateful for morning coffee and people to share that ritual with.

I am grateful for our extended family.  Though that is the obvious and cheap statement at this time of year, it is true.

I am grateful that I can photograph and document life around me as a constant reminder of why I am involved in vision research which leads me to my next statement of thanks…  I am grateful that I can get up each day and go to a job that I love.

I am thankful to my colleagues, people whom I am fortunate to be able to work with and count as close friends.  These are people that I truly love, respect and admire, from mentors that I would follow into battle as well as people working with me and for me that have absolutely labored to craft high quality science we are eager to share with others.  I would argue that essentially all the people that I work with at the Moran Eye Center are also passionate and eager to do their part in bringing the scourge of vision loss to a halt and I am grateful to be working in a place led by those who inspire that ethos in all who work there.

I am thankful for food on my table and the appreciation of the same.  We don’t spend enough time as a society thinking about the food we consume or how it is procured.

I am grateful for the animals in my life… our pets and the pets and working animals of family and of close friends.

I am thankful to live in a beautiful city with ready access to green space and pristine public lands.

I am thankful for software engineers and academics who write the code we use everyday in both the science we work in and in the photography that helps remind me of scientifically minded motivations.

I am thankful for the mechanical and optical engineers that build the tools we use to explore how retinas work and what goes wrong in blinding diseases.

I am grateful for 500 million years of evolution that has created and refined the adaptive immune response to make them precision manufacturing facilities for the construction of molecular probes we use in our work.

I am grateful for photographers who inspire me every time I look at their work.  It is humbling to consider that many of them are my friends.  Ann Torrence, Trent Nelson, James Duncan Davidson, Mike Terry, Erin Hooley, Patrick Smith, Djamila Grossman, Chris Detrik, Jim Urquhart, Jim Goldstein, Joe McNally and more.

I am grateful for the local community of photographers that have shared so much of their knowledge and been so eager to learn.  Photowalking Utah never would have happened without the contributions of Ann Torrence, Rich Legg,  Jeremy HallEd Paz,  Scott SmithHarley and Diane Pebley and many more.  It would also not continue to be an influence if it were not for people like Michael Frye and Leah Peasley.

I am grateful for opportunities to witness history.

I am grateful for the opportunities to have travelled, even if most of it has been on tight schedules related to work.

I am grateful for the opportunity to spend very quiet moments and not so quiet moments with good friends.

I am surprisingly thankful for the long hours working and the quiet moments in the wee hours of the morning when worry and the seeds of thought allow action.

Finally, I am thankful to all my friends discovered through social media that have served as a consciousness from the world outside of science.  These are increasingly people I rely upon to filter interesting items in the larger world and I look forward to their ideas, thoughts and feedback.  Some of these people I’ve been fortunate to meet in “meat space” as it were and am grateful to solidify those friendships and put faces to names, avatars and minds.




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