A Blustery Fall Day

A blustery, wild snow-flurry driven day following a soggy warm morning. Must be November!

Thursday marks Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S.., Canada having celebrated about a month ago. While the concept of expressing gratitude for the harvest is pretty much universal, the holiday here is rife with conflicts and complex nuance, perhaps more this year than in most.

In most North American traditional cultures there is a deeply held belief that everyone in the community must eat and be warm; if there is food it is shared. Traditionally, elders, children, women, and persons who were ill or disabled are honored, and often fed first. This is particularly evident during ceremonies and on feast days.

In this time and place, in a culture that glorifies flaunting wealth and shuns, or attacks, the most vulnerable members of society rather than seeking to assure the well-being of all, Thanksgiving is particularly problematic. Complixifying the picture further is our government’s renewed attempts to disposes Native people, both those living on reservations and in urban areas, of our lands and cultures. For too many, this Thanksgiving will be a time of grief and wanting. For a great many it will also mark a period of renewed determination to return justice and caring to our society, and to preserve all that is beautiful and hopeful about our world.

In the face of all that is troubling, we are thankful that as precious winter sets in, our larder is full and our home is warm in temperature and spirit. This past week I turned 70 and our home overflowed with friends wishing me a joyous birthday! We were reminded that we are immensely blessed in that we are embedded in a loving community that spans generations, cultures, and traditions. This morning I was looking through some of the cards and gifts that were bestowed on me, and found myself filled with gratitude and immersed in a sense of being loved and valued, and felt profoundly moved.

This Thanksgiving week is indeed complex. Even so, may you and yours be blessed, and may we all remember to be grateful for what we are given. May we share what we have with all who are in need.

 

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26 thoughts on “A Blustery Fall Day

  1. Belated Happy Birthday Michael and nice to read, that you are surrounded by such kind souls 😀
    We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe, but many do their best to support the ones, who are in need, when we are able to and we can all do something.

  2. Happy birthday, Michael, and welcome to our 80th decade. There have been many subtle changes in how I perceive life and place in it since I turned 70 two years ago. I like where I am and I hope you find your special place in this phase of your life. I am so glad our paths have crossed through blogging. I believe I am a better person because of what I have learned by reading your insightful posts.

    • Oh, Pat, thank you! We have been traveling and speaking with others. This turning older is filled with complexity!
      I am so glad to have met you, and look forward to your words and imagines, finding them a balm in these challenging times.

  3. Wonderful post Michael! Happy Birthday! Your writing has meant a lot to me. It is difficult to balance colonialism with feeling thankful on holidays. Maybe the best we can do is keep fighting and speaking out, which you certainly do, and give thanks at every opportunity. Your writing reminds me of this and I appreciate it. Take care. Bob

    • Bob, we have been away and I am slow to get to responding, even though I took great solace from the good wishes bestowed on me. Your words have stayed with me these past two weeks. I am so glad you find my writing touches you!

  4. Happy “Continuation Day” as Thich Nhat Hahn says. May you continue the wisdom of your ancestors, the energy of the Cosmos, and the manifestation that is you for many happy years to come.

  5. May your 70th year be blessed with peace.🙏 With all the abundance in the western culture we have missed the mark. Empathy and gratitude have not fared so well as to give us the sense of community and honor as you describe within the Native American world. I am warmed by the respect for all beings. It must be that way for continued existence. Enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving.

    • Gretchen, Thank you. I am reminded that Native America has its own issues; there is so often, in all cultures I think, a gulf between what we wish and how we actually act. Still, traditionally most tribes and communities tried to do the right thing.

  6. Happy happy 70th birthday, Michael!!!🎂
    May this year bestow upon you many blessings 😁
    I resonate with the sentiments you speak of here in this post. It hardly seems real, the positions that are taken. I find it hard to listen or watch the news. Each day there seems to be a new level of sadness introduces.
    I hope, and I pray daily, that the collective energy of good will continue to rise and effect change!
    Many blessings.💜

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