It’s late and I can’t sleep. I got up this morning, made the stuffing for the turkey (“Eddy”, he was ultimately named), and then went back to bed, because I was grumpy and hadn’t slept well, and was being a general pain in the ass. So I had a nap in the middle of the day, and now I can’t sleep. Seamus is asleep, I can hear him snoring, my little dog is asleep on the couch next to me, beneath a blue hoodie, Emy is asleep on her dog bed- everyone is asleep but me. I ate too much pumpkin pie today, laughed too hard, shouted too much, had the most fun thanksgiving in memory. Felt so appreciative for my chosen family. Felt such a strong sense of community, the real feeling, so rare, visible only in flashes, and when you least expect it- like a white-hot light beam straight to the heart. The turkey turned out amazing, thanks to a whole team of dedicated basters, some cheesecloth, a shit-ton of butter and the steadfast guidance of the Joy of cooking. I think the stuffing was good, but I had so much food on my plate, I ate so fast, and there was so much noise, that I feel like I hardly tasted anything at all. I’d gone for a run beforehand in the rain with EmyLoo and I was starving, but then I’d eaten some candied pecans and ended up feeling like I wasn’t quite hungry enough. I remember thanksgiving dinners at my Grandparent’s house when I was a teenager, being so hungry by the time we ate that each bite of food tasted like the fucking miracle that it was, chemical reactions exploding in my mouth, winter and spring and fall and sunshine and a nostalgia for everything that could have ever happened, like tasting the whole history of the world. I never helped cook, though, and when you cook a thing and smell it all day you can hardly taste it by the time it gets eaten. I learned that working at the hippie hotsprings last summer, cooking for hours and not being able to taste anything when I put it in my mouth, having to trust that it would taste good, finally tasting it eating it cold with a spoon out of the leftovers fridge the next day, like a fucking miracle.
I am thankful. I am thankful for my health and my friends’ health and for my date and for our dogs. I am thankful that the heavens split open and rain down goodness and unbelievable decadence upon us again and again, like the universe is a slot machine and I keep winning and I’m shaking the machine and saying why do I keep winning? But the money just keeps pouring out, gold coins piling around my feet. Of course it’s not just winning it’s being able to know when you’ve won, and being able to say “yes, this is good enough” and then, later, realize “yes, this is as good as it gets” and then “one happy thing is every happy thing”. And there’s also giving up hope, realizing that hope is a form of capitalism, a belief in infinite growth and if there’s not that constant moving toward some other thing then you’re dead. Giving up hope you stop looking around you and you look down at your feet and you realize that you can’t even see them because they’re buried under about a foot of gold coins. And you feel so rich you don’t even want to move, barely want to breathe, because you’re afraid it’s all so fragile like a screen made of grass blades pinned together with chestnut thorns and that it’ll crumble if you look at it directly, like your gratitude is a strong wind that’ll blow it over, like how the sun can fade a photograph.
Over-eating pumpkin pie is one way of indirectly showing one’s gratitude towards the universe. There were three kinds of gluten-free pumpkin pie at dinner, and I ate as much as I possibly could, spacing it out all night until, in retrospect, the evening blurs together into one long taste of dull pumpkin, maple sugar and baking-soda crust, like an IV drip of pie. The best thanksgiving food, tho, will be the leftovers I make for breakfast, and the turkey sandwiches I make into infinity, thanks to Eddy the expensive (but priceless) co-op turkey.
I love feasting with my friends. I am thankful for so many things- but mostly I just want to catch this moment in my heart, this moment of being alive- because I am undoubtedly alive- and sometimes, still, that blows me over, even though I have been on this earth for nearly thirty years already. How is it that we are alive? Still I cannot believe it. In the great straws-draw of existence, I wonder if every single-celled or multi-cellular-complex organism doesn’t once in its life stop to wonder how they got so lucky as to be embodied in such a way, here and now, when there was so much that they missed, and so much that they will never see, how they ever got to be alive at all. And sometimes, when I stop fidgeting and stand still, I feel that time stops with me, and if I hold still enough, I feel that I can almost keep from startling it into motion again. And this always works except for when it doesn’t, and time passes but it doesn’t pass, and in the end, I always have it, even when I think I don’t.