Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Day and Night

Intense, vivid dreams last night. Dreams with family, memories, in familiar places and also in places never seen before. A large house in summer time, my family there; cousins and aunts coming to visit, after some funerals before the dreamtime; did you meet that one relative before? yes, at my grandmother’s funeral some years ago; a house like a version of my old house in Ann Arbor, but larger, distorted, harder to get around in; yet my room was like my old room; talking with my Dad at the breakfast table, before everyone arrives, then going back up to my room to change from my casual non-dress into real clothes, as the family members pull up in front of the house, in a giant red convertible; my one favorite cousin has come to look much like her mother, but softer, more open, and she is driving the convertible. So, dreams of family and friends, dreams of gathering together for a social occasion, to eat a meal.

Dreamwhale surfacing, Pinole, CA, 2005

Today’s Thanksgiving Day. I had plans, but they’ve all fallen through, and I’ll probably be spending the holiday alone. I’ve been too sick, too poor, to do anything different. I’m not really up for a long drive or other travel plans, anyway. Just as well, probably, to stay home and rest, have a quiet day.

So. All my plans for Thanksgiving fell through, and whatever other plans might have developed, too, as no one called me back. I'm too sick to travel without exhausting myself, yet everyone seems to expect that I'm the one who always has to do that work of travel, in order for us to get together. So I've been alone all day. I have been having a mostly quiet day, listening to some music, and reading and writing, although once the sun goes down here, all too early, I plan to do some baking, and make myself a small exotic feast. Why not? I love cooking, and I love eating, and tant pis if none of my friends could be bothered about getting together this year.

Late last night, before going to bed, I got to watch it snow for the first time here this fall: wet heavy snow that whitened everything, but was gone by the time I arose again in the late morning. It’s windy, cold, and blustery out there today. I may stay in all day, or I may go out and do a little stonework in the garden. I’ll see how I feel in the next few hours.

I just got back in from working a little in the cold, wet garden. I did some stonework gardening, finally, that I've wanted to do for about a week. It felt good to get my hands into the dirt. Always very healing to connect to the earthmagic. Now I'm sipping Prince of Wales tea on the porch, and warming up my bones again.

Now the light is fading. It’s getting dark, and I’ll turn on the houselights soon.

I made a large double spiral at the northwest garden corner of the house, where I haven’t been able to get anything to grow yet. There are those wild bushes there, and groundcover, but that patch has been bare. Maybe I’ll try to plant some lavender there, in between the spiral arms, come spring.

Spiral in sand, San Gregorio Beach, CA, 2005

I also spontaneously did more stonework in the bedded garden on the east side of the house. The usual feeling of being called to make a land art sculpture, which happens at certain sacred places when I’m traveling. The spirit or energy of a place calls to me. After I made the large double spiral that I’d envisioned making since last week, I had more stones in my pail, so I followed my feelings, and went over to the east side of the house. I’ve been putting different kinds of groundcover in there, to merge between the bushes. It’s very bad soil, but certain kinds of groundcover, such as periwinkle, will thrive and spread there anyway. I also transplanted some chives in there this past spring, and they’ve done well. I made a little stone path from house to wall, near the water faucet, and two stand alone spirals. It felt good to work in the earth today.

If you can’t garden with plants, this late in the year, you can still garden with stones and earth.

Turtle Creek tributary upstream, WI, 2009

I was thinking about land art sculptures, the past few days. I need to go down to the river later, down to Turtle Creek, maybe tomorrow, in the afternoon. I can make art along the river banks there. I can gather some wood for carving later, fallen debris or whatever. I’ll dry it over the winter in the garage, as I am drying the wood from the tree branches that fell down in the windstorm a couple of months ago. I had been thinking that I couldn’t make any land art around here, and I realize now that I can. I just have to go down to the river path and do some exploring, walking, and making down in there.

As the sky darkened, I lit candles in several rooms, and turned on only a few of the electric lights, just the minimal.

I baked white chocolate scones while I was making a reduced glaze from the juice of two fresh-squeezed oranges. It takes about two hours to simmer the orange juice down to a thick, gooey glaze.

Then I pan-roasted long strips of breast-meat chicken in olive oil and lemon pepper and spices. When the chicken was cooked through I laid it on a bed of fresh baby spinach over rice. I glazed the chicken strips with the reduced orange sauce, and ate the meal with a couple of glasses of wine.

And that was my feast for the day. I made it for myself, and ate it myself, and felt good about it all. I actually have a bit of that eaten-too-much overstuffed feeling you're supposed to get on Thanksgiving Day. So that feels good. I might have a pie of apple pie with vanilla ice cream before going to bed, later on. Meanwhile, I'm sitting wrapped in blankets with another cup of tea.

And that was my solitary feast. Shared here, now, and thus made less solitary, and more convivial.

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Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

When Carrie first came over here she made a bit of a fuss about Thanksgiving but that only lasted a couple of years. Nowadays she phones her parents and her kids e-mail her and that's about it. It's hard to get caught up in the spirit of the thing when you're in a foreign land with a bloke who doesn't get it.

Festivities in general have become more and more of a chore each year. Ten years ago I was buying Xmas presents in Spring but this year neither of us wants anything and so the whole thing seems a bit pointless; who are we doing this for?

Still, Art, ol' son, if we are going to do the whole 'thankful' thing then I think that fellow that invented the Internet deserves all our thanks. What do you say?

5:21 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Yes, indeed, very thankful for the Internet, and to those who developed it! It's been a real life-saver at times.

I'm still dealing with negotiating the holidays after so many recent deaths of family and friends. Partly it's just a simple quest for the appearance of normality, when so much else has been disrupted.

I actually had a decent day yesterday overall. I made myself that small feast, and I spent a lot of time in Internet exchanges—a form of virtual conviviality that actually satisfied my needs for the day.

11:13 AM  

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