Monday, November 26

The Last Days of November


The Full Beaver Moon is waning, and finally, four days from the end of November, things are getting bare. For most of the months the oranges and reds of all hues have held on to the trees and shrubs, and the expected final blast didn't come until last night. Now there's intermittent rain and gusts of wind to blow most of them down.

Coming up this week are the birthdays of Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix. Bruce Lee, James Agee, Berry Gordy, Madeleine L'Engle, C.S. Lewis, and Louisa May Alcott.

The Urban Almanac for 2006 quoted St. Francis of Assisi thus: Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. The other side of that is letting the dishes pile up in the sink [substitute and image of entropy] with he result that the next day you don't have time to go past what's necessary. many people live their lives keeping up with the necessary, some because it's all they can manage, and others out of a spiritual laziness that doesn't dare to dream -- or won't get off the couch. Fear or laziness, it all leads to nothing.

I meant to speak of Thanksgiving. Most of the tributes and reflections I've read recently have been either the typical ThanksyouGoiforeverything" or have been thoughtful and religiously non-committal musings on the good things all around us.


I'd like to write an anti-Thanksgiving prayer or statement. Because behind most of the celebration in this country (at least among those who are safely and securely living here) lies the Puritan belief that we deserved these blessings because we were among God's chosen ones, on a divine mission to settle here. Yes, they were thankful at Plymouth, of course, for surviving the winter, for food and houses, for freedom, and for -- so far -- cordial relations with the native people. But while they gave thanks they simultaneously included the affirmation that God was on their side. I know that the national holiday didn't exist until Lincoln's time, but the roots are in Plymouth, and we never forget it.


Why am I talking about this? Because I would like to declare that I am NOT "thankful" in the common American meaning of this. I am appreciative to be sure and thankful in my own sense for what I have and that I don't live under hardship, and I love all the simple things of nature and life and blah blah blah -- BUT I DON'T in fact thank anyone for any of this, because however it all came into being I do not think that a God person gave it to me for a purpose. Maybe there's teleology in biology, I tend towards the teleological explanations of things where they're possible, but none of it issued from a person-like creature to whom I can talk or who "knows" me.

I read thew Psalms for comfort. but I do not really think that there is One Who Knows my innermost soul.


I love to go to Plymouth and eat ice cream at Peaceful Meadows and clams at Wood's and buy postcards and visit the Mayflower and walk the old streets and look a,t the eroding rock, but it's more a feeling of being at home on those sandy grassy shores by the salt bay, forty miles from where I grew up.

1 comment:

bri said...

". . .many people live their lives keeping up with the necessary, some because it's all they can manage, and others out of a spiritual laziness that doesn't dare to dream -- or won't get off the couch. Fear or laziness, it all leads to nothing."

It's 1 AM. I am having an allergy attack while catching up on your blog. Sneezing like crazy!!!

and now I am thinking about a spiritual laziness that doesn't dare to dream.

thank you.

for the whole post. but mostly for that.