U.S. holidays are no longer a big thing with me, but do enjoy 'thanksgiving', not just for the delicious food shared with friends, but as a concept. Personally I am thankful for still being alive at my age, healthy, and aware on a daily, minute by minute basis, of the beauty of the immediate bit of nature that surrounds me here in northern Thailand. And at this time of 'thanksgiving', I am reminded of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, especially the third movement.
This string quartet was written to give thanks after surviving a near-fatal illness. Beethoven was completely deaf at this time, making the composition all the more remarkable. But he was thankful for his mind and his ability to put on paper what he heard in his head and felt with his entire being. The third movement of his string quartet opus 132, the "Heiliger Dangesang" is perhaps the greatest single short piece of music ever written. Close to 17 minutes of pure bliss.
And yet Beethoven would be dead within two years, after completing the last of his string quartets, which many believe form the most sublime pinnacle of Western music.
And from Stanford University, "From Sickness to Health: Beethoven's Heiliger Dankgesang"
"Backed by Stanford University's Ensemble in Residence, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, Robert Kapilow, composer and radio commentator, explores the notion of illness as a potent source of creativity (e.g., appreciation for existence) through Beethoven's "Heiliger Dankgesang," which Beethoven wrote in thanksgiving after recovering from a life-threatening illness."