I would probably be preaching to the choir if I started going on about The Real Story of Thanksgiving and how celebrating the imaginary dinner between natives and pilgrims is somewhere between believing in Santa Claus and listening to a drunk uncle tell fart jokes at a funeral. Needless to say, being informed of the fable gives a sense of gravity to the day, more appropriate as a national Day of Mourning. Our whole cultural amnesia around this holiday is so unpalatable that even if I ate turkey (which you know I don’t) I don’t think it would sit well in my stomach. I have a hard time getting excited about the impact of colonialization. Don’t even get me started about what we do to the poor birds.
And yet, this is also a holiday that I love. Not for the story, but for the ritual. Ritual ties me to my past, far beyond my short life span, weaving into the culture of Now the celebrations of my ancestors. The recipes passed down, the family jokes and traditions, fitting black olives on my daughters fingers and teaching her to watch out for the moment when she must put her finger on her nose…all small things adding up to a day that brings stability to the ones before and after. Holidays celebrated in tradition are anchors throughout the years…maybe I don’t remember much about November of 2001, but I can tell you where I was at Thanksgiving.
Beyond giving thanks and creating a Day of Gratitude for what we often take for granted in our lives, I am building another tradition for my family. Rather than participating in animal cruelty or lining up to buy crap at Best Buy, the Thanksgiving weekend is a perfect time to give thanks to your Mother. Yes, definitely the one who spent 80 hours cooking only to watch her family devour the whole thing in 45 minutes. But even more so I mean Pachamama. The one who you can thank for everything. That breath you just took, oh and that one too. The fingers you click that mouse with and those beautiful eyes that translate terrafirma for the brain. The ground we walk upon, the dust of all those that have come before…animal, plant, micro-organism. All upon this Earth came from one source, regardless of how we may have manipulated material to make it so. This Earth that also, despite our human ignorance and the ecological abuse we perpetrate, still reaches up to communicate with us whenever we step outside. And I heartily recommend doing just that this weekend. Go for a walk after dinner and before the pumpkin pie, let the sky and stark branches be your digestif.
What else am I giving thanks for at this time? I bet you can guess.
Thank you trees, for just one more thing that you give…PLAY.
I also give thanks for my daughter being so embodied and grounded, and for my own internal bravery to let her reach great heights without my overprotection.
I give thanks for the resourcefulness of LOVE. Like Godmama Kerri who espied the chance to nab this brand new radio flyer trike right before someone was going to put it on craigslist.
Or for wonderful Daddies who know that circus tents from IKEA are worth the disposable income.
Despite our bank account balance, we are rich.
Despite the aches and pains, I am whole and healthy.
Despite the loneliness in my heart for one very fuzzy touchstone, I am awed by the capacity for love.
I love this life, my family, my friends, my community, my work, this earth, this world.
And I love you. Thank you for being a part of my life, for reading my thoughts and extending your friendship. I hope you have a beautiful holiday.
We are headed up to Shasta. I’ll see y’all next week.