Hope For Me Yet

November 29, 2013 § 6 Comments

Daisy and Winslow, for Eumaeus

Daisy and Winslow, for Eumaeus

Four degrees this morning, the coldest one yet this season, and the snow creaked under my feet as I made my rounds. The cows’ water was frozen solid, so I tipped the trough on its side and stomped it until my foot hurt and most of the ice had been dislodged. All night, the beasts exhalations had frozen to the hairs along the sides of their faces, and the morning sun illuminated the icy tendrils of their very breath, like some essential truth revealed.

Thanksgiving was quiet, but good. Over the past few years, our home has become something of a repository for friends who for varying reasons have no other place to go for the holiday. But this year, for our own varying reasons, we kept it small: My parents, Penny’s parents, Melvin and Janet. And although I missed the boisterousness of prior years (me being a fan of boisterousness and all), there was something decidedly relaxing about the gathering that imbued me with a sense of knowing precisely how I fit into this world. That’s a little vague, I realize, but I guess I’m not sure how else to say it.

I don’t think I’m very good at gratitude. Or perhaps I’m just not good at expressing it. The other night, at the Rural Vermont story-telling event, a woman told the story of slaughtering one of her lambs, and of how she lay the animal down and chanted and cried and felt such deep thankfulness for the creature’s gift of meat and life. To be honest, I felt a little jealous. It must be a beautiful thing to feel such tenderness and reverence.

But despite being such a coarse, ungrateful clod, I sure do like Thanksgiving. I like cleaning the house in anticipation of guests (darn good thing we have guests from time-to-time, or this place would really go to the dogs), I like cooking with Penny in the hours before the meal, I like gathering around the kitchen and chatting with our parents and neighbors while I feed the cook stove and do the dance necessitated by cooking on wood, and I sure do like eating. We had beef and lamb this year, both of which were born and died on this little piece of land, and they were quite delicious, thank you very much.

So yeah, I like all these things and I suppose, if pressed, I might even say I’m thankful for them. And it occurs to me that perhaps a big part of being thankful is simply acknowledging all those things which grant us a sense of knowing how we fit into this world.

Huh. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

§ 6 Responses to Hope For Me Yet

  • Aaron says:

    I am thankful for many things, your writings are just one. Happy Turkey day, Ben, Penny, Rye, & Fin.

  • Eumaeus says:

    I want to play with essential truths revealed, crumble them. perhaps give them a sniff. What does essential truth smell like?

    Good bit about house cleaning. Sometimes, I’ve invited guests over for that very reason. Impetus.

    There is hope for you, Ben. You’ve got Penny. You’ve got Uncle Kent. You’ve a poet father, mountains out your window and loads of people who appreciate your writing. You’ve got so much more. Who the heck is Eumeaus to talk about what hope you’ve got? I just read with admiration. Bending envy into thanks giving.

    And thanks for the image of Daisy. The yellow hat folks say that dogs’ll be reborn as people in directly their next birth. I like to think about that.


  • Trish says:

    One thing I’ve noticed throughout your blog posts is your thankfulness. I think you may be a wee bit hard on your self. Our thanksgiving was a long time ago, it feels like, so I find it weird when I read about American Thanksgiving now, it always seems so late, from my Canadian perspective.

  • Amy Dye says:

    I wish you were vegan and rescuing these animals.

  • Dawn says:

    May I respectfully disagree? I think every bit of your writing is filled with gratitude if only because you seem so aware of the fact that you are blessed to live the life you have chosen. Gratitude is best expressed in the small things of life, not the grand gestures of gifts and such. Gratitude also requires an awareness that circumstances could just as easily go in an opposite direction than one intended and that possibility keeps you going toward living your own version of the truth. The gratitude expressed in your writing is one of the reasons I enjoy it so.

  • […] I thought about how often I draw inspiration from them. And then I thought (and I was recalling yesterday’s post as I did so) now, there’s something to be thankful […]

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