I asked Donna this morning, “Is this the first Thanksgiving we’ve spent entirely alone, at home?” She thought for a moment and nodded. “I think so.”
Just as well. I seem to have caught a bug that has churned me up a bit the last couple of days. Not bad, just very uncomfortable, leaving me not in a very congenial mood.
But it got me thinking on the nature of the day and its uses.
We lounged, walked the dog, talked, read a little (I’m finishing up a stack I’ve been working on for a time and this morning completed William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways), talked some more, napped, ate a little. We did not engorge. Neither of us felt good enough for a feast, so perhaps we came through the day more clear-headed than in past years. We watched a favorite movie—Pleasantville (which I still think is one of the finest films ever made, easily in my top 100 if not my top 20)—and thoroughly appreciated each other.
Our tradition has been to take the first invitation that comes for the day, but this year the one that came with geologic regularity did not come—regrettably, I suspect politics has scuttled that one—and we demurred on another. No matter, I’m glad it worked out this way.
I skim on a light froth of gratitude most of the time. I subscribe in no way to the notion that what I have has come entirely by my own hand. I have no problem crediting others for their contributions to who I am and what I have done. I’ve been through periods of ill-advised hubris, thinking myself wholly self-completed, and all it left me with was an ashen taste of disappointed affirmation when I realized how unfair and ungenerous such an attitude can be and how hurtful it is to express it. I am grateful.
I am grateful for my friends, of whom I have more than my share and who are among the best people I can imagine (and I have a pretty good imagination). There is no way to adequately assess how important they are and have been to my life. We have among us constructed many a worthy moment, torn through seminal evenings with laughter, tears, and unspoken commitment, reinvigorated shattered hopes among each other, and sat through despondencies together like old sailors waiting for the tide.
I am grateful to live in a place, in a time, where I can think any thought, read any book, make any art, and live according my own principles, and all without having to steal such privilege from anyone else around me. I live in a house of books and music and art that resonates with songs of imagination and whose walls are only place markers by which the true horizons of my inner life can be appreciated in the comparison.
I am grateful to have the wherewithal to understand and appreciate what I have.
I like to think that in some small way my life has meant something, if only to a few people, and that I will not have spent my time frivolously and without effect. If this single vanity is not self-deception incarnate, then I am grateful to have lived to a purpose.
I’m grateful for my dog.
I am mostly grateful to have a companion who shares with me without reservation. Donna has been the best, insofar as I can understand the term, a soul mate, the one with whom I have both laughed and cried the most, and with whom this life has taken on the contours of its present delights, of which, though I complain often of what I have not yet achieved, there are many.
Everything else is secondary, transient, novelty, replaceable, but for which I am also grateful.
To all of you who have added grace and joy and the pleasure of shared experience to my life—to our lives—I thank you and hope the coming year will see a few of your hopes fulfilled.
It’s a good life. Appreciate it.