Thursday, November 24, 2011

On This Day, Thanks.



In many ways, thanks is a lot like love. We say we love chocolate and coffee -- a color, fishing, books, and our significant other. When we talk about food or friends, shoes or our grandmothers, we talk of “love” and it comes out sounding just the same. Sometimes we even say we love things just to be polite or to get something in return – those looking for the former are notoriously guilty of this. In the English language, we don’t really differentiate -- we just love. And it’s a curious thing to figure, much like thanks.

Which we give often -- thanks for nothing, for sharing, for sending, thanks for listening. Thanks for dinner. Mindless turns of phrase however fine and culturally useful. And yet, I live under the belief that words mean something – hurting more than sticks and stones and sticking longer and harder than zap-a-gap accidentally dripped on your index finger. Words scar, and words sculpt our ideas and understanding of the world. This, is no light matter.

And so when I say thank you, for reading, for commenting, for your thoughts….I mean it with all sincerity. Thank you.

But intrinsically, I am not a thankful-hearted person. More easily can I say I’m appreciative and grateful, yet these all leave feelings of indebtedness. Which might really be the point -- to know what you’ve received is at cost to someone or something and to appreciate -- yes, to be thankful for -- the gift. To put things in perspective that the world isn’t just you and yours. Yet human nature is not inherently thankful, observe that we have to be taught to share and to say please and thank you -- we're selfish little souls. And although I was taught these things well, my constitution is discontent. Not unthankful, mind you, but thankfulness seems tainted with a satisfied complacency, an acceptance of what one has been given is all one will get -- I’m thankful just to be here, for example. 

"Butter Boys" by Eva Zimmerman

But I’m not. I’m not thankful just to be. Anything. It is not greed, but perhaps the disruptive quality of curiosity poking holes in my personality -- my inquiring mind does want to know -- there must be more to it, there has to be. And why? I’m here to do something, to think, to write, and to live with integrity in the definition of words, for they in the end will define me. Words will be spoken of me after death, and will these words be honest with thanks and love? Or rote -- my name filled into blanks in a funeral service template.

Today is Thanksgiving, and today I will put a large turkey in my old gas stove -- more than enough for a small dinner for two, schnups for one dog, and copious leftovers for a week. And today I am thankful -- for words and love – for the love of my family, my dog, and a good man.

29 comments:

  1. I hesitate to say it, but thanks for this piece. As you do so often, you articulate what each of us would had we the skill and the insight and the honesty that you do. Reading your crystalizing elucidations it make it easier for the rest of us to process that which churns inside us, undistilled.

    Enjoy your day, your bird, your dog, your man - hopefully as much as we have enjoyed your work. Happy Thanksgiving.

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  2. It is not enough to simply "count our blessings"; we need to "feel our blessings." I just made a lengthy Thanksgiving blog post. I am feeling yet another blessing reading your post. Happy Thanksgiving Erin. P

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  3. As I sit here at work today , watching the clock and waiting for the end of my shift so I can head home to be with family , I'm thankful you took the time to post on this day. So many thoughts in your post that I can totally relate to but could never put into words so eloquently.
    Hope you and and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

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  4. For me, Thanksgiving is a day of thought and reminiscing. For some reason, we need a special day to remember to give thanks for those people and things that mean the most to us. I am thankful for a budding friendship and wish you and the man and your wonderful families a truly blessed day.

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  5. When I get big, I want to write like you. I for one do not need to be thanked for reading your writing; I am honored to read your fine phrasing. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for what you write.

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  6. Happy Thanksgiving my friend. Cheers!

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  7. Enjoy your day with the "Butter Boys", the turkey, your canyon home, and the nap in a sun patch later in your day. I am thankful for you my child.

    Mama

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  8. Thank you for giving us something to read a couple times a week. Have a nice thanksgiving!

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  9. Watch out. Here comes a thankyou! Thank you for coming into our lives. I speak for my family AND your multitude of readers.

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  10. Thank you all, so very much...and I mean those words to their full heartfelt extent. And I hope you have all had wonderful, full days, of food, friends, family, and thanks. Now after a day of wood-stacking, gutter-cleaning, chimney-sweeping and tree-cutting, I'm now going to get a hard cider! ;)

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  11. Erin, I am thankful that you keep writing with such mindful introspection. Hope your day was wonderful. Mine was, but I would have liked to go fishing. Judy

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  12. Ah... Thanksgiving! We act as though only one day a year is for this purpose. I guess the other 364 days it sometimes, not on purpose, goes unsaid.
    Erin thank you for writing, even if some of those other 364 I fail to tell you.

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  13. Are thanks necessary for doing what you were clearly intended to do? I would expect nothing less from you than the writing you do about your struggling and wrestling with issues and the joys, sorrows, and celebrations of your life. Tis one of your many talents and it would be anathema not to use it. However, we enjoy being invited into your world and it seems wrong not to thank. So while unnecessary, Thanks. bhive

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  14. Many thanks to you all, for reading and commenting and encouraging and furthering my thoughts even more...

    And b.hive...thank you, for everything, for my life, my childhood, and my chainsaw. <3 e

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  15. From this side of the pond I don't really 'get' Thanksgiving, but we do have Pancake Day - which is nice :-)

    Loved the words Erin - thanks, and that is meant honestly and sincerely. Enjoy your cold turkey.

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  16. You always say it just right Erin. Beautiful post. Hope you're having a great Thanksgiving.

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  17. DB - Pancake Day? ROAD TRIP/BOAT TRIP!!!!
    bhive

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  18. Many honest thanks back to you all...

    And Mr. Burr, I need to learn more about this Pancake Day of which you speak. Sounds a great deal more pleasant than a turkey! ;-)

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  19. A very nice post Erin, you are right 'thanks and love' are words that are used far too easily.

    As for Pancake day, its is a day observed to its fullest in our house hold by my wife and daughter, me i don't care for them much unless they are served with Poire's Ellen and a very good quality vanilla ice cream............ or is that Crepe's i am thinking of?

    I know, pancakes and crepe's are the same thing, its just that the French do it better :)

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  20. Tom, I think you're right about the pancake/crepe thing...in which case, I think I'll go to France. ;-)

    And thank you all, so much, for reading...

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  21. Rather than giving thanks, I think we are indebted to you for your observations and insights which as usual are so incisive.
    Always a pleasure.

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  22. When I got done reading this, one of my favorite performers came to mind. A way with words, a poet of sorts, the playing with words, but in particular, the lyrics that start around the 2:30 mark.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR30nKnE80g&feature=related

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  23. I absolutely agree.

    Beautiful as always Erin. I could not have said it better myself.

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  24. Witham, Ken G. and Red....many thanks to you all for the kind words and as always, for reading...

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  25. I love to say thanks for the lovely thanking words you write so lovely, thanks! And the big love words (concerning relationships or heavy matters in life) are not the things that make you happy for the rest of your life (they help, that’s a fact). But it’s the endless continuity of small thanks and lovely little things that surround us (although we have to search for them now and then) every day!

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  26. lonesome piker - "But it’s the endless continuity of small thanks and lovely little things that surround us (although we have to search for them now and then) every day!" Speaking of lovely words. :) Your words remind me of a bit of Maclean, where he writes that life is not beautiful, but some moments are....and it's all about just surviving to get to that next beautiful moment. Cheers to you, my piking friend. Thank you, as always for reading.

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