“Time to put your phosphorescent green vest on, Aussie.”
“Because it’s deer hunting season.”
“You need a season to hunt deer?”
As white-tailed deer move fast in the forest and the plains, as shots erupt everywhere and Aussie can’t decide whether to stay in the car or join the hunt, we’re also entering a season, a season of thanksgiving. I don’t think I remember one as challenging as this year’s.
Later today I’ll head down to NY to stay overnight with friends and continue down tomorrow morning to Takoma Park, Maryland, right on the border of Washington, DC, home to Alisa Glassman and her family. Till Bernie died, the family always came up here for Thanksgiving. After he died, Aussie and I drive down.
“That means no off-leash walks till Sunday,” I warn her.
“But no hunters,” she replies happily. She hates the sound of guns.
Giving thanks isn’t coming easily. I feel a weight inside on account of my family living in Israel, as well as Palestinian friends, and even the gut feeling that the Middle East is not past the worst, worse may still be ahead. Unless both sides crash into a wall.
Bernie, an American football fan, likes to tell the story of a not particularly smart fullback who got the football and ran with it to the end line for a touchdown, but continued running hard till he rammed straight into the wall separating fans from the field and got knocked out. He finally got up after a few minutes, dizzy and bleary-eyed, shook his head, and said to his teammates: “Boy, they’ve got some linebacker there!” He was convinced he’d run into a player from the other team when he’d really run into the wall.
Armies and militias fight and hurt one another, but on another level, they’re running into walls: the limits of what they can do without incurring huge losses, the limits of what any military can do when what’s at stake is a political, not a military, solution.
I give thanks not by mechanically rolling off all the different things I’m grateful for—my home, the dogs, family, practice, dinner last night with Jimena and Byron Pareja. It’s the small things, like holding Llama Louie when Henry brings it to me to throw for the 5,340th time on a Sunday morning, admiring its green and red colors and the squeaks (not in Tibetan) as I throw it for the little dog. I connect with Henry’s shiny, happy eyes, the soft growl in his throat, the sounds of Aussie gnawing contently on her Sunday morning marrow bone behind us.
I connect and laugh with Antonio, who came to help us finally get rid of massive piles of autumn leaves, and with the earth whose green color I haven’t seen for two months, long grass nuzzling at my shins. Being hugged by grandson Milo, who gives the best hugs.
My brain makes up an encyclopedic list of the ingredients constituting my rich and happy life, but my heart is into connecting with small things, including the voices of family and friends from across the country, across the world.
And the Middle East? Violence seems to have its sway now. I settle back, gathering my strength. Get the leaves out, clean the house, take care of people, prepare for retreat in December, and be ready, because there will be a change. There will be a change.
As part of this week of Thanksgiving, I ask you to please support this blog with a donation. I just wrote a well-earned check to Silvana Gravini, who manages my blog and website, and will be paying more soon. The blog is free to every reader—and it needs support, like everyone and everything else in this universe. I’m grateful for my usual three posts a week, they force me to look inside, clarify, and articulate emotions that are often mixed and jumbled. They force me to connect with readers and the outside world, rather than staying private and quiet.
The words aren’t always the right words, the map isn’t the life. What do I trust? Where the words come from.
So yes, on this day when I begin my drive south, feeling deep gratitude to you faithful readers who follow the crooked, meandering path of one woman’s life, please consider making a donation to this blog by using the button below.
You can also send a check to: Eve Marko, POB 174, Montague, MA 01351. Please write on the memo line whether this is in support or immigrant families or of my blog. Thank you.