Friday, November 27, 2015

Reciprocating Thanksgiving

Everyone here has survived Thanksgiving. In fact, it was a pleasant and enjoyable meal shared with a few friends and relatives. Today's Christmas tree expedition has also been successful, although, from the parking lot at the tree farm, you'd have thought we were at a dollar day sale at Nordstrom's. The tree is up and lighted. Decorating will occur over the weekend. No animals were injured in the completion of these seasonal festivities except the turkey we had for dinner and the one writing this posting, who got punched in the nose by a gesticulating Daughter Person while she was acting foreperson on the tree installation. (Maybe I need to be belled like a cat or get cowboy boots and spurs to jingle-jangle.)

Ojibwe Wisdom Rug
Ojibwe Wisdom Rug (legend below)
Photo by J. Harrington

Yesterday's posting included excerpts and links from articles referring to various claims on a "first Thanksgiving." Several hours after the posting, while eating Thanksgiving dinner, it occurred to me that Thanksgiving, in the form of one harvest celebration or another, must have preceded the colonization of North America. A brief spell with the Internet and a search engine yielded Thanksgiving: A Harvest Festival with Roots in Sukkot and this quotation:
"While we cannot be certain about what motivated those Pilgrim settlers to initiate a feast of thanksgiving, it is likely that they consciously drew on a model well-known to them from the Bible they cherished. Seeing themselves as new Israelites in a new "promised land," the Pilgrims surely found inspiration in the Bible, in the Books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, in which God commands the ancient Israelites to observe the Feast of Booths — in Hebrew, Sukkot, "to rejoice before Adonai your God" at the time of the fall harvest [Lev. 23:40]."

Ojibwe Wisdom Rug Legend
Ojibwe Wisdom Rug Legend
Photo by J. Harrington

Since Robin Wall Kimmerer, among other Native American writers, has taught me a little about the value to be placed on giving thanks to this earth on which we depend for life, and our need to give thanks for earth's gifts and provide reciprocity, I'm going to speculate, for now, that before Europeans "discovered" North America, giving thanks took place year-round and wasn't limited to a few days after the harvest was done. Wouldn't we be better people and live lives full of more meaning if we tried something like yeaar-round thanksgiving and also honored seven days a week instead of just one whoever we claim as our Higher Power or Great Spirit? The last I heard, reciprocity was a two-way street.


By Sandra McPherson 
I accompany this life’s events like a personal journalist:   
“Little did she know when she got in the car that afternoon ...”;
or “Despite inauspicious beginnings,
this was to be their happiest year.”

Little did I expect that our horoscopes would prove true.   
And how could we foresee an answer to
that frankly secular prayer, we with so little faith   
as to be false prophets to our most fortunate gifts.

I am glad when doom fails. Inept apocalypse
is a specialty of the times: the suffering of the rich
at the hand of riches; the second and third comings of wars.

Shouldn’t we refuse prediction
that the untried today is guilty, that immeasurable   
as this child’s hope is, it will break tomorrow?

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Please be kind to each other while you can.