This year the farm I got my organic chicken from for Thanksgiving did not have any chickens at all. Something went wrong in the spring. Farmer Frank’s son told me the place that processes their meat will not do any more small or special orders, they have gotten too big. So I had to adapt. The weather forecast for Friday was for warm weather so earlier in the week I emailed my order and told Frank I’d come to the farm on Friday. It was my first visit. I had a chat with Frank’s wife and then drove down the road a little bit to Will’s where the freezers are and people pick up their orders. It was a beautiful, relaxing drive. The trees stilll have color and it was 21C/70F or thereabouts.
There are many things I could grumble about these days, like the fact I can’t get my special order. Grumbling accomplishes very little except to make you feel even worse. So I choose to be grateful for the nice day to drive to the farm, rather than dwell on the probability it’s due to global warming. Yes, I used gas but the farm is only 22 km/14 mi away. The eggs and meat in the market are trucked from hundreds of miles away, that’s a lot of diesel. I am thankful can easily get to the source of some of my food. I often wonder if people who blindly buy whatever is in the grocery have any idea that each thing they buy or don’t buy has an impact far beyond tossing it in the cart and paying the checkout clerk. The quality of my foos is important and so I feel I should support sustainable agriculture and family farms.
Thanksgiving is a practice that deserves daily attention. For me having cats helps. They have no compunction about making you stop what you’re doing to give and receive love and they are hard to ignore. I know some people ignore even their own children but I can’t ignore my cats. Sometimes, like in the middle of cooking, I have to insist they wait a few minutes but then I give them the attention they are asking for. And I give thanks for that unconditioal love all them time. The little things tend to get overlooked and taken for granted. All over the world there are those who have lost both big and little things and it always amazes me how the small things make big differences.
I am thankful I live where I can feed the birds. They entertain the cats (who are safely inside and only able to chatter), they make beautiful music and they entertain me as well. In winter when we are inside keeping warm I know I am providing them energy and a safe place to eat. Habitat loss due to overbuilding, sprawl and pollution is easily killing as many if not more birds than outdoor cats but the chemical companies and builders have better lobbies.
Right now my finances are thin. There is no demand for tutoring services in this area, education is simply not valued. So I am working on other projects, but it all requires an initial outlay. I have decided I won’t buy a chicken for Thanksgiving. When I thought of it, I realized that pork goes with onions, sweet potatoes and stuffing as well as chicken and I bought a half dozen pork chops from Frank and Will in lieu of my special order. So I will probably have one of those instead. I am thankful to have that option. Many people have to rely on charity to have some semblance of a holiday. And the cats like the pork too. The late, great Tony was crazy for some of my pork chop. It’s nothing like store meat. There is barely any fat and the grain is so fine, they can’t be cooked without liquid. By forgoing the extra purchase I was able to send a little something to a friend trying to raise money for his heating oil for the winter and I’m thankful I could help.
This is how I try to look at things since I dedcided to make thanksgiving a practice, It really helps me to waes off depression and discouragement, even in the face of things like the election aftermath. I try each day to find things to give thanks for. Some days are hard, some days seem filled with an abundance of good things. Most of them are small like finding a coin on the sidewalk or a bargai in the thrift store. However, once you start giving thanks for these small things, you begin walking around with a new sense of awareness. If you are looking around you see the coin, you see the out of season rose still in bloom on the bush. You start projecting positivity and people react in kind. If you are willing to develop the practice of being thankful you can actuallly improve your health. There have been articles about this in major periodicals like the Huffington Post and Forbes, it’s pretty mainstream knowledge by now, but most people simply don’t engage in it as a practice. Once you acquire the habit you will feel better. It’s like brushing your teeth. If you only brushed your teeth on Tooth Brushing Day once a year, imagine the consequences!