I know this festive day is barely in its middle Stateside, and I can just about smell the cinnamon rolls my mama’s probably making in Colorado. But its already dark here, and I have a good three hours of cooking just behind and an evening of feasting and friends ahead. Let it never be said that Oxford American expats skimped on their Thanksgiving celebrations!
I’ve also just come this afternoon from an hour of Advent poetry reading with several other lovely women at my college. We discussed two poems which describe the way:
‘A certain minor light may still
Out of the kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then
Thus hallowing an interval
(Sylvia Plath in Black Rook in Rainy Weather)
I think life is full of hallowed, mundane moments. I think God’s goodness gleams into the ordinary in countless, faithful, redeeming ways. I think a ‘celestial burning’ rests on the heads of siblings, parents, spouses, friends, I think our hands burn with it as we craft meals and comfort hearts. I think the stuff of the every day is incandescent with love… if we just have the eyes to see it.
Gratitude is, I’m learning, in large part the shift of conscious attention that helps me to see the miracles in their tiny glory all about me, and then, to praise. So today, oh, with eyes opened and heart quickened, I am so grateful. Today, in poem and cooking, in friendship, in rainy weather, in a text-fest with my precious, scattered family, in the arms of my husband, my ‘sight has been set on fire’ (Plath again!) with the brilliant grace with which God crams the corners of my days.
Happy Thanksgiving, lovely friends. May your own eyes be set on fire with a vision of how loved you are, how surely God’s mercy holds and heals you, how full the world is of his wonder. I am deeply thankful for you all here. For your kind and thoughtful comments, your presence, your conversation. I hope this day is rich and crammed end to end with loveliness for you and those you love.
To savour as you go, one of my favourite passages from one of my favourite novels: Wendell Berry’s Remembering. This is the moment when his own eyes (in that of his protagonist, Andy) are brightened:
“And now above and beyond the birds’ song, Andy hears a more distant singing, whether of voices or instruments, sounds or words, he cannot tell. It is at first faint, and then stronger, filling the sky and touching the ground, and the birds answer it. He understands presently that he is hearing the light; he is hearing the sun, which now has risen, though from the valley it is not yet visible. The light’s music resounds and shines in the air and over the countryside, drawing everything into the infinite, sensed but mysterious pattern of its harmony. From every tree and leaf, grass blade, stone, bird, and beast, it is answered and again answers. The creatures sing back their names. But more than their names. They sing their being. The world sings. The sky sings back. It is one song, the song of the many members of one love, the whole song sung and to be sung, resounding, in each of its moments. And it is light.”
May your day be wondrous.