Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

So, many of you have been asking … where have you been for the past few months?

Well, The Jade Sphinx was on temporary sabbatical while I finished a (long-overdue) book on books-adapted into films with critic and historian Jim Nemeth. But since that undertaking is drawing to a close, we will be able to post more regularly in the months to come. In fact, in the weeks before Christmas, I hope to share with you multiple book reviews that reflect new and noteworthy releases. More to come!

But before that, let’s think for a moment about Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving has always been our favorite holiday. It is solely predicated on the notion of giving thanks for the manifest blessings that we find around us, and for being mindful of the still, quiet miracle of our lives. Every day, wonders settle on my shoulders like so many snowflakes, and I feel deeply in touch with some greater mystery that lies beyond me.

Though uniquely American, Thanksgiving has always been our holiday least associated with ideology or creed.  The celebratory meal represents the bounty that is our lives; it is, simply, the holiday that is best shared with people we love.

I am delighted to report that as I coast through my 55th year, I am still as in love with my Better Half as I was when we first met, 27 years ago. In no time at all, we will have been together for half (and then more than half) of my life, and I wonder how we spent those early years apart.

I’m thankful for all the dear friends and family who have trekked out to Southern California to spend time with us, and to see us build a new life in a new clime.

I’m thankful that Southern California is the paradise that I suspected it to be, and for exceeding all of my expectations.

And last, but certainly not least, I’m thankful for the new addition to our lives, our dog Lucas. He is a four-and-a-half year old rescue that we adopted from nearby Seal Beach. I have long wanted a dog, and Lucas has been everything I could’ve wanted, and more. We spend an obscene amount of time just gazing at him; he makes us laugh simply by doing things as elementary as walking across the room or drinking from his water dish. He is a gift that has enriched us beyond measure.

It is important to point out that for the past few years, Americans have spent so much time over the Thanksgiving table arguing – over politics, over values, over questions of identity – that we have forgotten what this holiday is really about.

It seems as if we are always on the brink of disaster and things are always trending to ruin.  I’ll be jiggered if I’m going to haul that hoo-haw out again this year, because I think pointing out the negatives in our lives doesn’t do us a whole lot of good.  So, yeah, things are terrible, it seems no one is happy with our current condition, and the world as we know it is changing so fast, no one knows what to hold onto.  It was much the same last year and will be much the same next year.  Been there, wrote that.

But I have faith in America and Americans. Good heavens, we created this holiday, the first nation ever to create a secular day of thanks.  Patriotism was never popular among most of my friends; any positive sentiments towards the country are mostly met with ironic dismissal or sneering condescension. But I think we are a great people, or, at least, we try to be.  I don’t know the future of our land any more than you, but I do know that Americans are capable of great things, great kindness, and unity.  That last quality – unity – has been in fairly short supply in recent years, but I think it will make a remarkable resurgence in the months and years to come.  We can but hope, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This Thanksgiving, make it a point to greet your family, friends and neighbors as people, and not as units of some political philosophy.  Love and nurture each other, and remember to be kind and ethical.  And, finally, remember to be thankful.  Thankful for the many blessings in your life, the bounty of the world around you, and for the quiet, ineffable mystery of your own existence.


lyle said...

As usual, an absolutely wonderful entry! Looking forward to the holiday book, movie, and art reviews (you introduced me to one of my all time favorites: The Fantastic Flying books of Morris Lessmore). Have a great Thanksgiving. (btw, don't bother missing the annual balloon blowup on the UWS...what was once a 'local' thing, it has become an all out event. Radio this am saying "expect large crowds, no backpacks, NYPD will be out in full force, spotters on the roofs.....damn!)

Mike said...

Well, after an optimistic promise of more to come, you seem to have gone completely dormant. I hope that is not an indication of ill tidings. I have only just discovered your blog, with its fine, bold defense of all that is best. I need to find your book on books adapted to movies, that sounds very interesting. I was just recently commenting that they used to write good books which got turned into good movies, but they don't any more. I hope that you will eventually return to regular posting, but, until then, I see I will have many pleasurable hours perusing your previous posts.