Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Poem As We Give Thanks

I read this peom by Mary Jean Irion and thought it was particularly fitting as Thanksgiving approaches.

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.
One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."

Thanksgiving was not my favorite holiday when I was a child.  It was mercurial and fickle, never settling on a firm date like July 4th or Christmas, but rather abiding by the ever-ambiguous rule of "the last Thursday of the month of November". 

Even though I figured out at a young age that Thanksgiving could never actually fall on my birthday (the latest date it can be is November 28), I did not like how Thanksgiving competed with my birthday.  Like all young children who eagerly awaited the heady spotlight to be shined on her for her very, very, special day, I always felt disappointed when the days leading up to my birthday focused on turkey and stuffing.  My birthday card and cupcakes seemed out of place and an afterthought in the midst of hand turkeys, pinecones and pilgrim's shoe buckles. 

I also detested the colors of Thanksgiving. The turkey was brown, the pumpkins orange, the cranberries a dark red.  Tree leaves rustled in shades of vivid and rusty red, yellow, brown and orange.  In my less rational moments, I think I linked my complexion to the holiday.  I detested that I had brown hair, brown eyes, and, after an active summer spent outdoors, very brown skin.  I yearned for a pastel complexion, which I somehow associated with a spring birthday.

As you may have guessed, my thoughts on Thanksgiving have changed radically as I have matured.

I love that this holiday especially celebrates food and drink. 

I love that it is a secular (equal opportunity!) holiday.

I love that it falls near the end of the year, allowing reflection on the accomplishments and the shortcomings of the past eleven months. 

And perhaps most of all, I love that Thanksgiving is about family, immediate and extended and adopted, and friends, new and old, and the coming together of all of these elements.

No comments:

Post a Comment