Just read a snippet about the expression “where the one-eyed man is king” which seems relevant for the times. This album came to mind. It’s lovely, especially when pondering things or making art…..
Yesterday was the complex holiday of Thanks-Giving – complex due to the whitewashed narratives of our childhoods (read Pilgrims and Indians and all of that). Add the further complexities of this strange year to the mix – folks home eating alone or with not enough to eat, or opting out of gatherings altogether, or choosing to have gatherings anyway, regardless. It’s just complex no matter how we slice it. Thankfully my family had had our larger scale get-together back in October before things got out of hand with the virus and we all kept ourselves to ourselves this holiday with a zoom conversation late morning over coffee (and maybe a bit o’ Bailey’s too).
It was good to see everyone though I can sense the weariness in all of us.
To be honest, the quietude of the day was just fine by me really. I’m often griping this time of year that I’d rather be hibernating than socializing and this year is our chance. Our meal was thoughtful and well made, most things from scratch. Since we weren’t cooking for a crowd, we could take time and care in a different way. It was really quite lovely actually.
As the evening wore on, we kept in touch with the kids, providing back up advice to them and their households as they navigated their first Thanksgiving away from the nest. It was bitter sweet. They seem to have a new appreciation for everything that goes into a well-crafted holiday meal.
It wasn’t just blood-family touching base throughout the day either, but friend-family too. Heart-family. A text from a dear one in California with an old Irish saying:
“Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine”
which basically means ‘we live in the shelter of one another’, or more specifically translated, “we live in each other’s shadows”. Protecting one another, in need of one another’s company and presence. I could not agree more. And then, a sweet text from Ireland with video of the kids wishing their American friends a happy Thanksgiving. My Taos based adopted family sent along their wishes as well. We traded texted views of home-based natural life, as we often do through out the year. Their mountain views to our hollers. A heart-felt exchange of worlds colliding. I am so grateful for all of it.
Eventually, we finished the pie and the washing-up over a Tune Supply concert that once again reminded me of the thing I will jump head-first most into once this is all over – music. I am deeply missing that camaraderie.
For now, solo practicing and babbling brooks must suffice.
Today, as is our tradition, we avoided any of the “Black Friday” madness (not even sure if that is on this year?) and took to the woods. Only the two of us, and currently dog-less*, it was quiet but beautiful. We took our time to capture photos, study mosses and mushrooms and simply enjoy the splendor of a lovely day.
*Charlie doesn’t come on longer hikes, which renders us dog-less when in the woods.
It was wonderful to get out into the countryside today. I’ve had our local hollers on my mind lately. This time of year I often think of my grandparents and all of our old holidays up with them in Middletown, just north of here. Middletown is a bit of a curiosity lately with the Hillbilly Elegy movie hitting the streams. I loathed the book when it launched and will likely choose not to view the movie (much as I admire the work of those involved in this project). I find I get my hackles up over the writing of JD Vance and would rather folks be reading Elizabeth Catte’s What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia if they are curious about this great swath of the country. I suppose I don’t appreciate the one-faceted view of folks in general and more specifically, those facing the challenges of poverty. There is so much more to Appalachia than meets the eye. Much like most of the rest of humanity.
The tide seems to be finally turning on the current president, and I am counting the days until we are back on an even keel with a leader who seems to even want the job. But I know our work as a country is only just beginning. As we drive around to the quiet wild places here in our own back yard, we are confronted with our political opposites. How do we get folks from such opposite ends of the political spectrum to see the light in one another?
Seamus Heaney wrote a poem called Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, which is exactly what we do here a good bit of the time. Perhaps that’s part of what got us to where we are today, so divided and deconstructed.
Perhaps we should all just go for a hike together when this virus is all said and done, to go out looking for spectacular mushrooms and mosses and figure things out in a more thoughtful way.