Thanksgiving's not always the easiest holiday; there's a lot of history to consider, both personal and universal. Here's a short poem that reflects some of that.
Sometimes, the light in the morning
up over the newly snowed peaks
breaks open my heart, like a window
hit by a hammer, or an overripe
apricot. It’s a heady mixture, that,
glass shards and sweet juice running
all through my veins. You’d think it would
cut. Instead, it flows like a molten
river of lava, shimmering through my skin.
Yesterday, I stood naked in the yard
steaming from the hot tub watching the moon
tip its dark side into the empty branches,
a sliver of glimmer, like a fingernail
left to the voodoo of sky.
Beckon what lingers, unspoken, unformed,
and let its newness unfold in you
cool and comfortable as a hand
on a fevered brow. When it comes,
nothing else will matter.
Home alone this weekend while my beloved is off at the Evolutionary Collective Retreat we were both meant to attend until our dog, Padme, dislocated her hip on the way to the kennel, I’ve been following a deep imperative toward comfort. At the same time, I’ve been heavy-hearted and grieving—the missed trip, my absent beloved, and the much loved dog, eleven years old and without a serious illness in her life, undergoing her second surgery in a month to correct the effects of what appears to be a congenital defect in her hip sockets.
After I took her to the vet, I did some grocery shopping, and a sort of comfort imperative showed up. I bought a chicken to roast. When Sugandhi is here, we keep to a vegetarian diet, and chicken is not my meat of choice normally. But there they were, locally produced, organic, already dead, and emitting a vibe that said: you need me.
Late this afternoon, after some Googling, I settled on roasting the chicken with the baby potatoes I’d bought the other day, some carrots, garlic, and onion. It came back, cooking like this, even after many years. Rub with salt and refrigerate. Rub with olive oil, more salt and pepper and paprika. Put a lemon in the cavity. Toss the vegetables in oil and scatter them in the pan. Bake for 90 minutes in a hot oven.
Then came collard greens and a pumpkin pudding made from a can of sweetened organic pumpkin bought by mistake. As the scent of the chicken wafted into the house, and warm from the wood stove and the oven, the lights golden, the dog sleeping, I realized that I was making a sort of ersatz Thanksgiving feast for one.
Following that was the realization of how much I have to be thankful for. I have all these resources. Money in the bank, a warm, safe home, love, companionship, health, all undergirded by a sense of well being that allows me to feel everything that arises when and as it does. The dog is aging and our time together is growing short. I’m missing out on the retreat, and the Bay Area, and our beloveds there. It’s cold, and gray, and winter is surely coming bringing snow and ice, and the challenge of “walking” a two legged dog who is used to spending hours outdoors on her own. I’m alive. I’m awake to all that aliveness means. I’m grateful. I’m blessed. I’m here in this moment allowing it all to mingle together like scent and spice into a deep comfort. What more could I want?