Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving: Two Takes

Religion—It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.
Jon Stewart

Today I’m gonna go knocking on the doors of strangers...get them to invite me in for dinner. When the meal’s through, I’ll tell them thanks and gently show them to the door. That's where it gets tricky. Often as not, they refuse to leave...try to tell me it’s their house...give me no choice but to use force...don’t even seem to appreciate it when I offer them a patch of ground in the backyard. No sense of gratitude....

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
Meister Eckhart

Actually, I’m going to the beach...South Jersey...Cape May...chilly but beautiful this time of year...with some but not all of the family...including my eighty-two year old mother...for whom I’m especially grateful...glad she’s still here...

though it’s hard not to think how much has changed, how much gone...or of what’s inevitably to come...impermanence no longer a philosophical concept or theme for airy poetry, but an inescapable presence at the Thanksgiving table...

then, going to the shore also reminds me of how much time I’ve spent playing on beaches, building ramparts of sand to hold back the tide as it comes in...but it always does come in, never failing to wash away whatever’s been built, leaving as little trace of today as it did of yesterday or the day before...

so, what is there to do but try and be present...enjoy the sea and the sky and the sand and my mom...and be grateful....

10 comments:

human being said...

hmmm... a surrealistic Thanksgiving... really amazing...

and your choice of the picture is fab...
love the way Fujiyama seems so dwarfish comparing to the wave... and you live this theme when you go to beach... a real yogi, eh?

svasti said...

Happy Thanksgiving darlin'.

We don't have that one down here - wish we did, as its truly beautiful to give thanks... too bad its in the face of the irony you expressed so well.

Then, as a wild hippy-flower-child yogini, I try to live in a state of thanks every day. I wrote something about this on the Melindaville blog... but its a three times a day ritual for me. Visualising that what I eat is shared with everyone else in the world (energetically at least).

I love the beach, I love the ocean. I'm mad for sandstone cliffs (not in a weird way tho)... I also like the beach in winter, less populated, rugged up in warm clothing and so deep and powerful... Spending some time with your mother and by the ocean - sounds wonderful.

When we were younger we used to make beach art based on whatever we found - feathers, shells, dead jellyfish (yes you read that right!), pebbles, washed up garbage... or bury each other up to our necks in sand just for fun...

Don't forget to take a few happy snaps for me! :P

Lydia said...

"...an inescapable presence at the Thanksgiving table..." brought tears to my eyes, Jay. Today as I was preparing part of the meal ahead I had a crushing sadness about my mother being gone for eight years. The only time I feel "like her" is when I'm making Thanksgiving dinner. I use her recipes written in her handwriting and just sort of float through the preparation in a Zen state. In a sense, I'm making dinner for her... in memory of all the TDays we had together.
Have a beautiful day with your mom and the sea.

Aggie said...

Aren't you the lucky one to still have your Mum. Enjoy your special times together - they become very precious memories afterwards. Very poignant.
I'm a water baby (Pisces) so I love being by the sea. Have fun and a great time.

Seeing Eye Chick said...

I now have to wonder what kind of interesting woman you mother must be, seeing how you are so interesting and all.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Carol said...

Beautiful.

I felt the same way at the table yesterday - with my 88 year old dad who no longer participates in conversation unless it's to repeat some old story a few times. His "dad-ness" seems to be melting and now there is just "be-ness". I love that.

Lana Gramlich said...

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. :)

The Clandestine Samurai said...

No! The sea will not wash away what I build! This Is Sparta!.....sorry, I hated that movie. Happy Thanksgiving. By the way, the word verification for this comment was "sucki", just thought I'd note that.

Rhiannon said...

This post is so true..the tide washing away what we've built or gone through..good or bad. Such is life, riding through the current into the present and whats to come as the tide pulls in and then back out.

Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one..and your very funny talking about knocking at peoples doors for turkey day and then "showing them the door" ...he he..very bright and funny..you made me laugh..I needed it..thank you.

Love and Blessings,

Rhi

Midwest Mom said...

In the past few years, we have said goodbye to an entire generation of our family. There is one left, Aunt Mary Jane, whose husband passed away in October. I was so happy to see her when I walked into the family celebration on Thursday. After the meal, when the kids were going crazy and the men were 'meditating' from too much turkey and pie, I sat down with her and talked -- well, mostly listened while she talked about old times and friends and her husband and brothers and sisters who've passed on.

There is something powerful in the experience of people who have been on this earth for so many years. I don't want to use the word ancient, but it seems like maybe it's the right one.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about your family time this week. They gave me a meaningful way to reflect on my own experience.