A breeze that brushes softly at your cheek.
The sunlight piercing through the changing treetops, a cascade of bright light—red, orange, bright yellow hues shining like sunflowers—dancing upon your skin, the shadows creating images like stained glass, like mosaics on an ancient Italian villa’s floor.
The high from a run, your chest pounding, feeling a thudding pulsate through your bones and blood and skin where you feel alive, whole, as if you can love someone fiercely, live wildly, like the world is yours if you only try. Sweat beads dripping down your back, your neck; the slickness caking to the ground as you lie back to stretch; muscles lengthening and tightening as you clench them in and out in and out, following your heartbeat, following your breath, breathing in vitality, a grip at thirst and life.
The way your veins move in your hand as you rhythmically tap your fingers to the tempo of a song, the base booming, the guitar strumming. You close your eyes and feel as if you are in the dance of a life, of a soul, your neck bending and rolling back and forth. You imagine waves the size of giants, you imagine mountains growing taller as the music quickens. Your feet are light and you can see a whole world through the melody of one song.
Thanksgiving is filled with the turkey, skin golden brown and the aroma circulating the house, autumn colors and air, the cold air you breathe in and out that creates a fog you can see.
We remember the “pilgrims and Indians,” the Mayflower. We think of corn and elementary school where we made those colored paper turkeys. And, when we go around the table and make a toast with our glass of wine, we should think of what we’re thankful for, what happiness is in our lives.
We get caught up in the trivial factors of the holiday: which in-law is sitting where, did we put the turkey in on time, is the game on in HD, is there enough wine (you can never have enough wine). But, when we get down to it, the stress of the holiday sometimes overshadows the actual glory of it…and then it’s over.
Just like that.
On to the next holiday.
We clean up, all the dishes and place settings. We put the leftovers in containers, looking forward to a thanksgiving sandwich. Some of us may even look at the clock and think about Black Friday. What time do we need to leave to stand in line to get that bigger size TV?
We spend weeks preparing for the third Thursday in November, hours leading up to it, prepping and stressing. Then it’s over. We think about the outfit we’re wearing, the food we’re serving. We probably get into a fight that has something to do with family, because let’s be honest, who doesn’t have family drama on holidays, minor or major? So, we future trip.
And, then, as soon as the food is served, it’s about what’s next.
We are in a cycle of life, caught up in time. That’s why even for a moment just pausing, going around the table to say what each person is thankful for, as corny as that may sound, brings not only gratitude to the holiday, but it brings us back.
It centers us and makes us present.
We say things quickly like family, friends, this beer to get me through the meal (cue laughter), but all the same, it makes us think for a split second about the present.
Whereas every other animal doesn’t understand time, we do and mostly use it to worry.
A deadline, a regret…what about the present time? No future or past thinking. Just now.
It’s hard, right?
It’s because we’re human; this isn’t our first rodeo. It’s in our nature for our brains to spin and catapult to the future and blast to the past.
However, on Thanksgiving, the time to think of thanks and give to others, let’s at least try to put it on pause.
To think of what we have instead of what we have not.
To think of who we’re with instead of the withouts.
To think of love not of those we feel bitter towards.
Each day is ticking (whether we believe time is made up or not, I mean is it even real?). It’s ticking, though, and each tick striking at the clock, a chime, an alarm, is a second closer to the next moment in life.
We have so many but never know which will be our last (not to be morbid).
And, what if we never do? What if we just live each day, grateful for what’s in front of us, and never know when it’s over?
What if we live every second, every sunrise and sunset, as if it were the greatest thing we’ve ever seen? No comparison, no thoughts of next time, or let’s do it again. Just the complacency, the being content in this moment with those who love us and treat us well.
Wouldn’t that be a nice life? Wouldn’t that make a stress-free and loving Thanksgiving? Wouldn’t that make each time looking up at the night sky—seeing the stars flickering, the moon, an opalescent wonder, the background black and signifying ever-growing space—wouldn’t that make us think: wow, this is the world, the Earth; this is life; this is my life.