For 31 days my car will sit without moving (except for street cleaning, and a one-day-a-week evening job not on RRTA's nighttime "retailer runs" -- the mall and the outlets). I will take the bus, walk or bicycle, no matter the weather.
This is my way of giving thanks for this country's outstanding public transportation system. I may not be able to get to Ephrata on a Sunday, or to Quarryville at all on a bus, but I can go everywhere I need to go.
It also increases my awareness of how I spend my time and energy. A trip to the grocery store involves more time and planning. I must stick to the shopping list and not buy more than I can carry. If I forget something, I have to do without until the next time. But learning to do without is a good thing.
Another plus is, being a passenger is better sometimes.
Driving a vehicle gives one an illusion of safety, packaged in an extra layer of protection between me and the world.
But the bus is much safer. If people buy huge vehicles in order to feel safer in case of an accident, then the bus has them trumped because it's the T. Rex as far as size goes.
Back to gratitude. One morning on a bus I saw a young woman take a banana from her bag and hand it to a young man sitting nearby. He ate it hungrily but in a way that showed appreciation for her gift. As if that was the only breakfast he'd gotten that morning. He thanked the young woman when he was finished.
The 31-day bus challenge is just one way of making myself slow down and think about gratitude. I am grateful to have a car. I am also grateful to be able to let it sit, for my health and for the health of the planet. Because the more I take and use, the less for someone else. Every gallon I burn today is less for someone in the future.
I'm grateful when someone who has more decides to pass it along, so the least I can do is do the same.