As children in elementary school we are taught that Thanksgiving is the day that we celebrate the feast shared by Pilgrims and the American Indians who helped them survive through hard times and a complete lack of knowledge concerning survival in the new land that they found themselves on. However, when you grow up you learn that this feast did not take place in November and that, when one considers the atrocities that befell American Indians as a race in response to their aid of these strangers and the many more who arrived, there really isn't much that should be celebrated on that end. Some people eventually refuse to celebrate the holiday at all because of this but I prefer a different approach. Rather than not celebrating the holiday at all (something that would be impossible with my family because they would drag my ass straight to the table if it came to it) I celebrate it strictly as a day to be grateful. In this way it is no different than the three harvest festivals in my religion except that my entire family celebrates it with me which is even better.
No matter how hard a year has been you can almost always find something that has happened that makes you feel thankful, someone in your life that just makes living brighter, an accomplishment perhaps that you achieved since the last Thanksgiving that once seemed impossible. If you have people to celebrate the holiday with, people you love, you have a reason to be grateful. If you are celebrating alone but you have your health and a reason to be hopeful for the future, count your blessings. Regardless of your views on the Pilgrim feasting bit, you don't have to give up your November traditions. Nifty way of seeing things, huh?
So what am I thankful for this year? *long sigh* I am thankful for the love and support I receive from my family, my friends, the man I love, and my beloved puppy. Life would be hard without love and I am always grateful for it. I am grateful for the roof over my head and the ability to have a feast tomorrow because unfortunately there are many, too many, in America who will spend tomorrow wondering where they will sleep and how they will eat anything. I am grateful for my strength and my determination that sees me through any hard times that come my way. I am grateful for the lessons I've learned that made me a better person and a better witch and I am grateful to be alive to see another holiday season.
In the hustle and bustle of the last week I managed to discover a new obsession. Ever seen Once Upon a Time? If you haven't and you have a soft spot for the retelling of fairy tales like I do I highly recommend that you do. That show is absolutely amazing. It has all of the elements of a great fairy tale. There is true love, unexpected surprises, plenty of drama, and an evil queen or two. It also has all of the classic princesses only they lack the helpless damsel traits that made them so damned annoying in the old stories. Snow White, for instance, is a bad ass. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) and Cinderella are still annoying though but they are not major characters so, considering they made Snow White a thief adept at shooting a bow, I think we can forgive them for that. I adore Rumpelstiltskin and I think that the way they worked out his love story was pure brilliance. My only disappointment is that they left me hanging without a new episode on Sunday.
There is yet another thing to be grateful for...Once Upon a Time and the release and the inspiration it provides me. It's the little things that make life worth living, ya know? lol
I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow and that over the course of the next month or so you don't let the stress of the holidays take away from the important meanings that lie behind each. Drink, feast, and be merry. I will attempt to post again before a month has passed....
The Pumpkin by John Greenleaf Whittier (A 19th century Thanksgiving poem):
Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun, The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run, And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold, With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold, Like that which o'er Nineveh's prophet once grew, While he waited to know that his warning was true, And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in vain For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain. On the banks of the Xenil the dark Spanish maiden Comes up with the fruit of the tangled vine laden; And the Creole of Cuba laughs out to behold Through orange-leaves shining the broad spheres of gold; Yet with dearer delight from his home in the North, On the fields of his harvest the Yankee looks forth, Where crook-necks are coiling and yellow fruit shines, And the sun of September melts down on his vines. Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West, From North and from South comes the pilgrim and guest; When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board The old broken links of affection restored, When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more, And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before, What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye? What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie? Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling, When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling! When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin, Glaring out through the dark with a candle within! When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune, Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon, Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team! Then thanks for thy present! none sweeter or better E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter! Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine, Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking, than thine! And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express, Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less, That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below, And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow, And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!