Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
A blue and yellow
day sneaks its way in between
rain clouds and puddles.
This little essay may be upsetting to delicate types. I consider myself a delicate type. I think I am sensitive, discerning, caring, curious, compassionate, empathetic, and though I think fairly well of myself I think beyond myself as well. I hope you read through to the treasure at the end.
Imagine, if you will, being so upset with your local and national government for their treatment of your beliefs you are willing to leave the country of your birth. In fact, if you don’t leave you may be persecuted to death. Leaving will insure your freedom to worship and live your life as you wish. You have a community of people who believe the same as you who reach the same conclusion and are willing to work together to leave with you.
You cannot travel east as the nations that direction will treat you the same way you are being treated now in your homeland. Your only route option is west into an unexplored territory. Your destination has little information to base your choice on other than it is free from the tyranny you are now experiencing; few people have gone there and returned with reports. You do not know what you will find there as there is no travel guide or written history. The journey will be treacherous; some deaths will be certain. Your mode of transportation is a second-hand ship of questionable quality. Your way westward is over an uncharted ocean.
You embark in the first week of August and spend late summer and all the autumn months aboard an old rotting hulk of a ship. You actually start out with two ships to carry all of you, but before many days out one of them springs a leak and your group is combined in the other. Every day new emergencies occur. Storms wrack the ship, cracking one of the masts. There is no fresh drinking water, just a surplus of kegged beer and wine. The food molds and rots because of the constant damp. Below decks smells like sewage because it is full of it. You live here with the animals you have brought as you don’t know if there are any in the place you are going. Your women and children are dying. You have dysentery and lice and few medical supplies.
Winter seas push your ship northward into cold winter weather. Finally you find land, but it is inhospitable and most of your group decide to remain on the ship until spring thaws. People on the ship are not only unprepared for wickedly cold winter weather they are plagued by scurvy, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. Come spring when you disembark more than half your group has died.
The land is not much more comfortable with the spring thaws. You find a native community on the land who stealthfully watch you and steal tools from you. You discover they have food they have stored over winter and you use their theft as an excuse to raid their stockpiles and steal their food. The indigenous people have darker colored skin, dress differently, and behave and worship differently than you. You forget this is the reason you left your own country and use the difference to treat them poorly, and you have superior weapons to take what you want. You discover one of the natives has made the journey to your home, learned your language, returned to his homeland, and is willing to act as interpreter and liaison between you and the native population, though this doesn’t last long as he dies within a few years. He shows you where to find fresh water and animals to hunt and eat. After all, many moons ago, his people had made a great journey themselves from far away in the west across a narrow strip of land with water encroaching on both sides and then proceeded across a vast semi-mountainous land to this shoreland.
You are unfamiliar with the native foods, unsure what is safe to eat and what will kill you. The animals you have brought with you are not thriving. Your wives and children are dying and there is so little food your women are not getting pregnant. Your group is growing smaller and is constantly sick, succumbing to every ill the land has to give.
A couple winters go by and hope is fading faster than the evening light. Harvest season comes and goes and you have little put away for winter.
Then one day a group of the dark-skinned natives arrives feast in hand. They bring the bounty of the land with intentions to share. You eat and discover there are many delicacies the land can provide. You laugh with the people who have brought this food as your stomach is full for the first time in years. They offer to share their knowledge of the land and teach you to survive and thrive. You accept, learn their knowledge, and in return rob them of the land and its resources, killing them, exposing them to previously unknown illnesses, treating them as inferiors though they have saved your lily-white asses from certain death.
As we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinners this year let’s unromanticize the holiday and think about history as it really happened. History is history; it can’t be undone. We can only move forward remembering what happened, the reality of what happened, no gloss, no Hollywood, no colorful stories of false success. We can use history to focus on how to become better as individuals, communities, and societies. There is much to grieve but we can still be thankful as there is so much abundance to be grateful for.
Let’s remember to thank the dark skinned people who saved our white asses by being willing to share their land and knowledge. Let’s thank the land from which all sustenance comes. Let us thank fresh water for serving so many of our needs. Let us thank the seasons, growth and re-birth, and our homes which protect us from the weather. Let us thank people who have less than we do and share our abundance. Let us be thankful for each other regardless of skin color or systems of belief or any other difference. Let us be thankful for variety and diversity, the special uniqueness of every individual, and the similarities we all share as humans of this sweet watery planet.
Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – white frost upon the greenery for spring’s coral bells; little brown mushrooms at work constructing mycelium and decomposing yellow and burgundy leaves; bright green softly textured mosses; a yellow mushroom appears each year on this tree; the reward of bright red inedible seed-berries and green leaves in an otherwise subdued palette.
Current View – bingeing on the end of The Guardian (CBS TV series 2001-2004) starring Simon Baker and Dabney Coleman, about a lawyer arrested for drug use and his relationship with his lawyer father and father’s law firm. Many guest stars such as Aaron Paul, Will Farrell, Henry Gibson, Kurt Fuller, Farrah Fawcett. Rita Moreno, Maureen McCormick. About half way through the third and last season. I’m always interested to see if these older TV shows tie all the threads together to a sensible conclusion or if the season leaves the series at a hopeful (that there is another season) but unfulfilled episode.
Currently Reading – A Roomful of Bones (2012, fiction) by Elly Griffiths; Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight (2010, health) by Linda Bacon; An Invisible Thread: The True Story of an 11-year-old, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny (2011, sociology) by Laura Schroff. Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
- Rain. Puddles. Gray clouds. Blue and yellow days. They lovely way they alternate.
- Naked trees showing their wavy meanderful branches supporting creative bird and squirrel homes.
- Full pantry, fridge, and freezer.
- Having the day off on Thanksgiving.
- Looking forward to vacation days.
- Having a job with paid vacation time. Benefits are good especially when you are older and less able than when you were young.
- Being able to admit I am less able than when I was younger. It doesn’t make me a lesser person.
- Being able to do what I can.
- Being interested in trying new cooking methods for the Thursday feast. We’ll see what works.
- Brussels sprouts on the stalk from my local winter farmer’s market for less than the supermarket.
- Organic celery. Six inch carrots that smell like carrots and still have their green tops.
- Every one of you special snowflakes.
- You. The one who takes time to read me, to think about my words and add them to your day, who takes time to support me with a comment, or quotes me to a friend. I love to hear and read your words too.
Hoping you have a lovely week.
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.
Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch