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Today I was working in the kitchen making stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey. I had gone out into my garden, frosty with winter’s mantel, to pick herbs and small greens. I said hello to the plants, plants that still give to me, while being dormant in the cold ground. I smelled the herbs in my hand, pungent. I was anticipating their bitter flavor mixed with the sweet of dried apples and raisins, harvested earlier in the fall and dried for winter storage, next year’s stash of hiking food. I was happy with the smells, and cleaned and chopped to release their flavor, so they could blend with the wild rice and sautéed onions and celery. I was happy that I had the time, the full attention without guests chattering around me, to be with these plants, admire their shape, their hardiness, the simplicity of their purpose.
I reminisced about Thanksgivings past, when I had to hurry to get all the traditional food items prepared, when there was a house full of people, bringing their energy together in a big bouquet of thankfulness around a table. I am a grandmother now, and the children don’t travel over the hills and through the woods to sit around my table. It’s too far, there is not enough time in their busy lives. We plug into our devices and talk while we chop, watch via Skype or Face time, while one changes a baby’s diapers, another shares a vegan recipe, I learn to fold napkins in the shape of a rose from my 5 yr old granddaughter via the screen.
The smells of food cooking, fills my nostrils. I am in the quiet of my home preparing a feast that asks to be shared, to be toasted with a glass of wine, to be savored with conversation. The best of what I have, what my garden provided, what my purse can buy, it wants to be seen, smelled, shared and tasted.
There is a man walking around the world right now, following the trails of people migrations from their origins, a walk from Eden. It will take him almost seven years to complete his journey. He shares meals with people along the way. He gives thanks for the food offered. Through sharing food he connects with people in many cultures. Wherever he goes he finds that the people all want the same thing, a home, a piece of land to grow food, to raise children and share with others. Why then do we fight the wars that we are fighting, why then can’t we live in peace next to each other?
This one day of the year, by being together and sharing a meal from what the earth gave us, we celebrate the essence of what it is to be people. I am glad that we hold on to this tradition, before we go full steam ahead into greedy Black Friday, into glittery Christmas overloaded with gifts.
It takes practice to feel thankfulness in my heart. It takes paying attention to what I have, to what I do, and how I feel. This winter, may you find a way to slow down, savor, and appreciate. The seasons of abundance, spring and summer, will be here soon enough.