In the turning of the seasons, we give thanks

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They are treasured old friends, those forest places that we walk until we know them with every fabric of our body, and soul. We return, unbidden, adding layers of memory as the seasons pass. On the blank canvas of a place, we paint the story of our time together.

So it is with the trail behind our house, the less-than-two-miles out and back that I walk most often. Late one fall afternoon, not long ago, I followed the path through a gap in the mossy old stone wall, to an opening under a few magnificent hemlocks. This spot has always drawn me, and I often pause there. 

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My thoughts rushed back from wherever they’d been wandering when something moved, close beside the path. A spiky hummock of quills, its back turned toward me. This was my first porcupine in “my” woods and deceptively quick despite its cumbersome gait. It wasted no time reaching a tree and climbing steadily to safety.

This encounter will forever enliven this bend in the trail. No matter the season, on my homeward way, I’ll conjure up a prickly ball in the crotch of that tree, framed by the yellow leaves of fall. Just as I’ll remember the night I looked up into the surprising face of the full moon, shining white behind the firs. And farther along, the hill where an owl had snatched a mouse, leaving only the marks of its broad sweeping wings.

Since that fall afternoon, the snows have come, early for our part of Maine, and we’ve embraced the turning of the seasons to this time of gratitude. I think how our lives, too, consist of layers upon layers.

This Thanksgiving, we will gather in another log cabin, in Virginia, for the first Thanksgiving hosted by the new generation. Megan and Jacob will fill their home to bursting, stretching the seating and sleeping and serving, with the aesthetic creativity of two graphic designers.

As we paint new memories, they will never replace those that went before. The years of Dad’s rousing voice singing Over the River and Through the Woods. Searching for hazelnuts in a worn wooden bowl heaped with nuts that you had to crack yourself. Grandma Searls, urging everyone to “eat some turnips for the Pilgrims.” New on old, forever and ever, or at least for today.

This then is my prayer for all of you, that you paint memories anew this Thanksgiving. That you embrace the turning of the seasons, from prickly porcupines to the frosting of the forest, and that this season of gratitude brings you joy. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

11 thoughts on “In the turning of the seasons, we give thanks”

  1. Laurie: Thank you for this and for your good wishes and I am glad you will be with Megan because it sounds like so much fun. And, next week you will get to meet Emmett – unexpected pleasure of our lives. Happy trails to you. Tricia PS: Love the thought of eating turnips for the Pilgrims although I would be hard pressed to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very nice Laurie sometimes it is so hard giving up the old traditions but how wonderful you will be able to spend it with Megan and star new tradistions.Now that I am not in Maine for the holidays they are differant.They do a Friendsgiving here at Thanksgiving with the folks in the houses around us.We all make 2 or 3 things and we all share.I am doing Watergate Salad stuffed celery and cheesecake.Did part of it today.May you have many new Blessings at this year’s Thanksgiving.Blessings to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So well written.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    Margaret

    On Wed, Nov 21, 2018, 6:30 PM Laurie Apgar Chandler lachandler22 posted: ” They are treasured old friends, those forest places > that we walk until we know them with every fabric of our body, and soul. We > return, unbidden, adding layers of memory as the seasons pass. On the blank > canvas of a place, we paint the story of our time” >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, Laurie, this is a day to share memories. 11 of us gathered here today–some of the time remembering when this was ‘camp’ and the fun things we did. We will make more memories on Saturday when the 11 of us gather here with 11 other Hudsons who love to come to Uncle Jimmy’s. I also remember my first Thanksgiving with Jim’s family 62 years ago in the big house on Main Street in Freeport with the kitchen bursting with family……and me, the newcomer from “away”

    Liked by 1 person

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