I love this time of year. Autumn is indubitably my favorite season. I love the transition between the frenetic energy of summer playtime into the ubiquitous static of the winter months. My senses dance with delight as the cool days make their way in, carrying the earthen scents of crisp shed foliage in their rusts and oranges, coppers and browns. There’s an ambivalence in the temperatures that keeps me alert and refreshed on an hour by hour basis.
Sitting smack-dab in the middle of this season is one of my favorite holidays. When Halloween shakes its bony rattle for the last time to remind us that all things slide into entropy, giving way to Christmas music and bloated newspaper ads on November 1st, I sit patiently waiting for the epitome of the season to come sauntering my way. That is Thanksgiving, the holiday often drowned out by the din of Western culture’s obsession with rampant consumerism.
Thanksgiving represents to me the ultimate in what the season is all about. In a nod to our agrarian ancestors we acknowledge that the last harvest has passed and we need to ensure that our food reserves will hold throughout the dead winter months. Rather than hedging our bets and hiding our food away from the inspections of Old Man Winter, we shrug and say, “I’m not sure if I have enough food to last me through winter for myself but I do have enough food to share with my family, friends and loved ones”.
The idea expressed in this holiday brings me so much delight because it is selfless. It is displaying such a deep level of gratitude for our family and community that we are willing to surrender our potential sustenance a few months out to ensure that we can all partake of our bounty today. It is also a nod to the Universe that the cornucopia extends beyond the symbolic, that we have a great enough trust that the great Gestalt will provide for us during the leanest times, thus we can share from our coffers without worry of any possible future deficit.
The best way to ensure anything returns to us tenfold is to give it selflessly to those without. Good fortune comes to those of us of good will. If one slice of bread is only enough to feed one person for one day, we do better to only eat have a slice and to give the other to our neighbor or eat a tenth of the slice and give the rest to nine others. We all may be less full but we are all a little less hungry. The alternative is to keep the whole slice for ourselves while the rest perish, so the next day we can gorge on that withheld bounty but to find ourselves surrounded by our own loneliness.
I saw this statement on a readerboard last week that illustrates this beautifully: Do good with what we have, or what we have will do us no good.