Let’s think on Thanksgiving,
one holiday where we gang up on cool indifference
no matter our religious persuasion.
The original givers of thanks did not place much stipulation on the day.
All we need do, they said, is check our ungratefulness at the door,
then do what comes naturally.
The only eligibility requirements are a pulse and a thought.
Those who commercialize holidays
have found the going tougher with this tradition.
The notion of giving thanks for what we have
is quite opposed to the one of wishing for what we have not.
The Pilgrims were poor materially but they had a wealth of community
and they tried to get their arms around it in commemoration.
You might say Thanksgiving is a surcease of the economic struggle.
There is nothing sexy about giving thanks.
So when you bow your head to pray, to weep even,
over how much bounty has come your way,
get it over with quickly,
for tomorrow when the sun comes up, it’s off to the mall
for the busiest shopping day of the year.
Thanks so much, we mumble,
for the blessings,
and now where’s that credit card,
it’s time to start accumulating a few more things
for which to be even more grateful.
If the year were a clock wound by the hand of finance,
Thanksgiving would be the eleventh hour.
For those who have trouble enumerating what has gone well,
there is always the alternative
to list all that has not gone wrong.
As sure as you start down this path,
our old friend cynicism locks his arm around our shoulder,
bends over at the waist and says walk this way.
Let’s see. My head has not fallen off this year.
No crazy teen attacked my loved ones
with an automatic weapon.
The sun did not burn out.
I did not become totally lazy and
start backing up to the pay window.
An automobile did not send me to my death.
I think of the folks in Haiti
Do you suppose they are thankful to survive?
Doesn’t so much grief give death stiff competition?
You can look at it that way,
but then as time lets light back in the picture,
might it not be said that joy is a formidable rival for life itself?
As the days slide past I see no greater challenge
than to face the passage of time with courage of spirit.
Sure I have fewer days left on earth than I had last Thanksgiving,
but then I also have a year’s more understanding
of what the living’s for.
I must replace hate for lost opportunity,
with love for a wiser tomorrow.
Anxious moments only serve to remind me of that Seattle vacation
when for a while I bumped the steering wheel
to sweet little diddies on the rental car radio,
and we lost ourselves in the Cascade mountains.
Somewhere out there, back in the West,
horizons still fall away like a burnt orange sky
on an artist’s wistful canvas.
Back here in the present moment let me just say
I am going home for Thanksgiving
and I am only taking comfortable clothes.
I mean renewal
I mean a little for you too