It was over six years ago I asked for a spot on this medium. The editor looked through my blog and said I could slip into the Thursday slot. He was aware of my political past. Maybe he thought I had something to offer. I am thankful for his generosity. But I had no concept back then that the Thursday slot meant Thanksgiving, year after year.
I needed to have an annual Thanksgiving post.
I have not always observed the holiday in my posts. I have mixed feelings about both the holiday and large family gatherings. So, some of my fourth Thursday of November posts have not mentioned Pilgrims.
Not that anybody reads this when they are thawing turkeys or greeting relatives. But I have taken this task to heart. So, I post today for your and my Idaho Thanksgiving.
I don’t really know if those east coast Pilgrims were thankful. Lincoln made it a national Holiday 200 years after the Mayflower landed. He had a wise political mind. National Holidays in the midst of a brutal civil war might have just been him playing a public sentiment chip when his hand was weak after the Second Bull Run. And it really boosted the turkey farmers.
It is said the Pilgrims ate turkey and corn and shared a table with their fellow settlers and the natives they were soon to displace. It sure sounds like a wonderful scene, and we all grew up with that image, didn’t we?
But our Idaho natives did not share turkey and corn with the whites with the guns. The Nez Perce shared camas and salmon with the starving Corps of Discovery as they stumbled out of the North Idaho wilderness. These welcoming natives saved the Corps’ lives. And then we displaced them from their lands, despite a treaty. And they have not pursued their war against us. I am thankful for their generous nature and troubled to be living on their land.
So out of reverence for the concept, the worthiness of such a wholesome and spiritual practice as these indigenous people demonstrated, I give thanks. May we all be so welcoming, and forgiving.
I offer thanks to my family, that they tolerate my odd moods and thoughtless behaviors. I can be hard to live with. But they have not kicked me out yet. I am thankful.
This beautiful land, this place I live, I appreciate deeply. I give thanks. I don't mind the dark, the cold, the rain or snow. I know it triggers life in the seeds as they lie awaiting warmth and the sun of a new season. The blazing red-purple sunset, the golden low light of autumn carries me through the gray days and chill nights. I can abide and do so with gratitude.
But the newcomers and the traffic have me perplexed. I greatly appreciate solitude. That is part of what drew me to Idaho. Though I have come to understand I needed more than myself to be healthy. So, I live in community.
It is hard to accept this change, though all of you might not feel it. Some of Idaho is exploding, some stays about the same. A few communities shrink. I should be as welcoming as the Nez Perce were. But then…
I hope these newcomers too have gratitude for this place. Despite the fact that one of the things that made Idaho wonderful for me was that they hadn’t moved here yet. But then, I did. I moved here from another too-crowded place.
This is a wonderful place, this state. We are made up of the leftovers of the states around us as they were carving out their borders. I love leftovers, don’t you? Happy national holiday to you and yours. May you be blessed with gratitude.