Now, where did I leave that?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Making Sense of Thanksgiving

So much has been said about this day, I risk being derivative if I talk about giving thanks (which we should do daily, not just one government appointed day of the year), historically inaccurate if I expound upon it as a day of peace (I was profoundly dismayed to receive an emailed card--from an organization/business I think very highly of--depicting pilgrims & Indians sharing a happy meal together), and unqualified if I talk about recipes (although our Onion-Thyme Gravy is pretty awesome and I highly recommend this easy 2005 Better Homes & Gardens recipe). 

But this morning, relaxing in the living room while still in jammies, fire dancing, coffee steaming, smoky scent of bacon lingering as we ate our traditional bacon & mayo on white bread Thanksgiving breakfast, listening to Lola the dog contentedly snoring away, I decided to give thanks for (and write about) the sensations of this day, part of the effort I'm making to be more grounded and rooted in the physical. For us, it's a quiet day, dinner for two (plus the critter clan). We'll see my sons and sister later in the week, but this day is a blessedly lazy one, with no alarm clock and a fairly simple dinner, at least compared to what many families do for this holiday. 

The menu is a testament to gratitude-inspiring abundance: roasted chicken, gravy, baked butternut squash, brussels sprouts, stuffing, two kinds of slightly puckery homemade cranberry sauce, sweetly hot cinnamon apples and an apple crisp w/ pumpkin ice cream. All but the chicken, brussels sprouts & crisp were made yesterday. All of the vegetables and apples are from local farms, as is the nectar-of-the-gods cider, which is truly a thing to be grateful for! Each bite offers the savory taste of tradition, the spice of memory, the sweet crispness of Autumn days.

Our house carries scents in the weirdest ways; we have the best smelling laundry room on Thanksgiving, not from chemical laden detergents or fabric softener, but from the sage, bacon, coffee, cinnamon and balsam incense that mark the day. I confess to having the nose of a bloodhound, and am forever sniffing the air to figure out this smell or that. Bacon instantly transports me to the November woods of distant childhood Thanksgivings, balsam incense to Adirondack vacations, and cinnamon to so many hours spent with my children and later with Linda. I've heard that scent is our strongest sense, that it's most closely linked to memory, and I bear witness to that wee scientific fact. Although a nasty cat box or musty room quickly makes me regret such olfactory power, I'd dearly miss the sense of smell.

A too-warm-for-late-November breeze brushes the wind chimes, which ring in a lazy melody, as dry leaves crackle across the front walk and the hens cluck and murmur appreciation for their treat of kale and squash innards. I didn't mention our main course to them.

Inside, the fish tank bubbles, cats purr, pellets clink into the burnpot of the stove, and keyboard keys tap out their messages.

We took the dogs for a woodsy ramble at Olana

shielding our eyes from the glare of sunlight on the pond. The mountains are wearing a gauzy haze today,

and the season has slipped too quickly from orange and crimson to shades of brown and auburn, although the rich red of staghorn sumac tops bare branches like crown jewels fit for a Goddess.

Tonight's dinner will be gloriously colorful, golden brown, orange, green and cranberry all spread out before us like topazes and citrines, garnets and emeralds spilled across the table.

The dogs' fur is sun-warmed, Yeti's a fluffy silky tangle, Lola's coarsely business-like. Linda's hand is cool and soft in mine, and my old green plaid flannel shirt, one of only two 'things' I own of my father's (the other being the watch that I wear every day), is warm and sturdy. Although more comfortable and comforting than my father ever was, sad to say, the shirt reminds me of the good moments we did share, walking in the woods or sipping coffee by a sunrise campfire. 

We're wondrous beings, we humans. We've been gifted--or evolved, or a wee bit of both--with the senses to experience the world in a myriad of ways. Today, tonight, whenever you read this, perhaps take a moment to really taste that coffee you're sipping, to listen to the wind, feel the warm body next to you (animal or human), open a window and scent the air like a wild thing, to look around you and give thanks for whatever your eyes land upon. 

Wishing you & yours a glorious day....


Nancy J said...

Your words are truly inspiring, heartfelt and so thoughtful,Yes, each day I give thanks for all I have, my friends, close and faraway,our cats, Hugh's good health at the moment, our family, my garden that is flourishing with veges, and I have special thanks to all my blog friends, whose words uplift,encourage, and open my eyes to the world. Fond greetings to you and Linda, enjoy the day . from Jean.

turquoisemoon said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours... This post was so warm and loving. Thank you!

AkasaWolfSong said...

A Very Blessed Thanksgiving to you and Linda, Ashling...

Your words brought much to be thought about this evening...and I am sure I'll ponder them for the next few days...

Stay well, stay safe, and enjoy your quiet time...

In Blessing,

Jen said...

What a lovely, evocative post. Your first paragraph made smile in amusement, and for the rest I smiled at the warm, delicious, domestic images you conjure. I'm happy that you are having a day of peace, love, and good food.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I loved this post. I just recently read this quote and it went something like this. " Can you imagine if you woke up one day with only the things you were thankful for the night before." It makes you see things a lot differently. Good, bad, we should appreciate and be thankful for it all. I work on that everyday. Some days its a little easier. Enjoyed my visit today!