Life Musings

Less reaching, more holding

Today is Thanksgiving. Another one. Another year and season and time to reflect and be grateful.

To be honest, I find myself a little bit antsy, reaching for the stillness as left-over dreams mingle with future plans- for today, for tomorrow, for Christmas and winter and so on.

I get distracted worrying about my dog and taking her for a walk. I think about writing for an hour and the new writer’s group I’m part of. I contemplate putting a second coat of “a glass of milk” on the kitchen walls and dusting the base boards.

Bob Dylan comes on the radio and yes, the times they are a changing. I feel it in my bones. The now propels me forward yet I can’t help but feel the twist and the pull of future anxiety and past nostalgia.

I remember Thanksgiving dinner when it was Hawaiian pizza in Ghana with no pineapple (it was “finished”) and how we jokingly offered to go pick some pineapple ourselves from one of the pineapple trees outside because Hawaiian pizza without the pineapple is just ham and cheese. I felt a little dizzy walking down the uneven road back to the highway and almost fell of the edge without realizing there was an edge. Fever dreams came and so did malaria and choppy internet and talks about waiting or not waiting and being something other than neutral, for once.
I think of the year I drove to the airport in the sleeting rain and caught a flight to Stockholm to wait for my love. I think of how cold and dreary that day was and how equal parts nervous and hopeful I felt- walking a tightrope of desire and fear that proved too difficult in the end. I remember the phone call from him a few days prior on Thanksgiving (all the way from France) and how I told him it was one of the best times I’d ever had with my family and meant it. I spent the next day making homemade Christmas cards in my mother’s sewing room and we gave them away one by one as we traveled Europe together visiting old friends and making new ones.

I think about the Thanksgiving before that one, in Nashville. I celebrated it with my sisters- all of us in one place after so many years apart. Our mom- newly re-married drove down alone to help cook the turkey and bake the pies. We had a terrible argument about space and the Bible and the origins of humanity but made up by going to the Sonic drive-in and giggling uncontrollably at our own impressions of Steve Martin’s attempt (as Inspector Clouseau) to buy a hamburger.

But my favorite part that year was the week before, sitting around the fire pit in our backyard with friends who brought food but mostly wine and laughter and so much warmth in our temporary home that opened its doors wide to receive all. I think about how very full my life was then, with so much more than I could have imagined and how the very next year and the year after were so fallow and barren, yet not dead, not dead.

And what will this year bring?

More family and a place to call my very own. A hearth that blazes bright. A dedication to the present, to my writing, to my art and craft and still a longing to create more than that- a community, a village, a sacred space that fills and pours out, again and again.

Fewer comparisons. Less digging in the past. More stretching. More walks in the park. The steady waves of my breath and rays of sunlight. Less hope and more acceptance. Less reaching, more holding, allowing the longing to be what it is, breaking and spilling open with more love than I’ve yet known. All of it right here. Right now.

(For the story behind this video and a very un-conventional and beautiful Thanksgiving this year, check out this post). 

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