Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thanks Given

The past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada.  It's a North American tradition of sorts, going back to pilgrim days.  It's a celebration of the harvest and (according to legend) began as a sharing of food between the Native peoples living in Canada and the white folk who came over and had no idea how to deal with the Canadian climate, and who were also tragically unfamiliar with the indigenous edibles.
A variety of squash, including pumpkins and butternuts.
From this occasion, which prompted English pioneers to cry "Thank GOD someone knows what this big round orange thing is, and thank GOD we can eat it!" came the tradition of giving thanks once a year for all the good things in our lives.  Thanksgiving became a sort of pseudo-religious holiday it seems, though the only reason for that that I can tell is the likely use of the expression quoted above rather than it having integrally religious roots (like Easter, for example).  In terms of origin it's definitely more a colonial holiday than a religious one, but that doesn't get too much press.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that I really love, and that's because I think that the project of being thankful for things is a good one and one that we don't do often enough.  I also *love* the food, and I like the celebration of the Fall harvest.  I prefer to overwrite the religious and colonial meanings of the holiday and make it more of a Pagan Autumnal-Equinox sort of celebratory event.

This Thanksgiving was a wonderful weekend.  Drew and I travelled between Fenelon Falls and Waterloo on Saturday and Sunday to see our respective families.  Neither family was having turkey, which is *such a bummer*, because really, who bothers cooking turkey unless it's Thanksgiving or Christmas?  Only two opportunities PER YEAR to eat delicious roast turkey!  I understand though, having cooked a turkey for Canadian Thanksgiving while in Geneva last year, that it's a bit labour-intensive (mind you, chilling at home and occasionally basting worked for me pretty well).  Instead we had other delicious food: lasagna, fresh salads, ribs, chicken, roasted vegetables, and of course, home-made apple and pumpkin pies.
Maples exploding into colour!
Mother Nature gave us a treat of amazing weather as well.  The sun was strong, the sky was clear, and the trees were in brilliant flames of yellow, orange and red.  No landscape is quite the same as a forest of Sugar Maples in October.  Ontario Parks even went so far as to start a Fall colour report, so that people can see the trees at their very best.  Squash is ripe for picking and making delicious soups, to freeze and heat up again on the dark freezing nights of December.  I love the Fall's crisp air, golden sun, and icy rain.  There could be no better way to start the tumble into winter, with the longer nights and colder air, than with a whole weekend of excellent meals, drinks, and snuggling up with loved ones.

Things that I am Thankful For (in no particular order):
1. Drew
2. My family
3. My own good fortune in life - the food in my fridge, the roof over my head, the clothes I wear
4. Colbert
5. The colour of the sky, the stars, and deep cold lakes to swim in
6. Good wine
7. Good friends
8. Skype (and the internet more generally)
9. Creativity in myself and others
10. Love

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