November 21, 2007
I love rainy Thanksgivings. It rained a little last night and I was hoping for a chilly, rainy day, the kind of day Thanksgiving is supposed to be. I hear that it was like that in Hoboken last week, with a little snow thrown into the mix as well.
Having lived back home in the South for 19 years, I am getting used to a subtle autumn, with trees mostly evergreen, but just a few adding color to our green and sandy world. In the Northeast, where I lived for more than 20 years, seasons were clear-cut: by this time of year the leaves had long since burst into glorious Technicolor and then turned brown on their way to dropping from sight altogether. By Thanksgiving, the only color you'd see would be the grey in the sky and the brown of the leaves on the ground.
I'm in a transition this year. In a week I'll be all packed and ready for my new life back in a cold climate. It will be wintry in Hoboken, no doubt, only to get really cold soon. I must buy more coats and winter clothes. Today I look out at rain and temps in the 70's, with the mercury dropping and maybe a night as cold as 42 degrees. Next week that will probably be the warmest temperature I will see for months.
Thanksgiving, it always seems to me, should be rainy and cold. You hardly have to go outdoors at all, and when you do it is only to be transported to a nice warm room where the smell of turkey and dressing in the oven permeates the air. Down in Lower Alabama we can't expect it to be cold yet, but we can expect those American food smells, and a little rain just makes it cozy.
This year there'll be no turkey. My sister is cooking seafood gumbo just for us, and my brother will be eating turkey somewhere with his wife and her family. I won't miss the bird or the traditional feast -- after all, there will always be turkey and fixin's. There's lots of years for that. The gumbo is comfort food for us, labor-intensive enough (at least for her), and always something to be thankful for.
I've said many goodbyes over the last couple of weeks. I've closed a lot of doors, ever so gently, always leaving the possibility that they will open again. What has carried me forward has been the real and genuine joy that life can change for the better with one move, one decision, one flash of an eye.
I'm thankful for many things this year. Most of all I'm thankful that I am making a big move on my own, because I must, and because I truly want to. What will happen in my new life I can have no way of knowing. I know it will involve writing, it will involve theatre, it may involve a little cooking, and it will definitely involve people. It will engage me in ways that my life here has ceased to do. I still have time left, and I shall spend it as I choose. I am very grateful for the ability to do that. What a life!