The day before

It's raining hard today and the trees outside my windows are almost free of leaves. We are in the heart of autumn, and it's the day before Thanksgiving. Tomorrow I'll spend the day in Longview, Washington with old friends. I was invited to go with Jennifer and family and about 35 others to the coast, but I declined. As Jennifer told her friends who asked why I was not going, "Spending the day with a noisy crowd of 40 people is Mom's idea of hell."

So, it's the day before the holiday and I've no cooking or planning or cleaning to do. How nice. I sit down in front the fire with my knitting and listen to a highly literate podcast. It was comforting, even uplifting to hear two adults discuss a broad range of topics in complete sentences without making fools of themselves.

When that was over I put down the knitting and picked up a book my neighbor had lent me: Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. Thumbing through I came on a chapter about Thanksgiving and sat down to read. I confess I am not excited about reading this book, I expect it to disabuse me of several favorite convictions and be seriously depressing. The Thanksgiving chapter did not disappoint, nor did it surprise me. You and I know the myth is just that—a myth. Tomorrow we will tacitly ignore all those who came to these shores before 1620—the Spaniards, the Portuguese, the Dutch—even distort the relationships those early settlers had with the local Indians.

But I'm not going to dwell on that. I'd rather enjoy the myth, at least through tomorrow. I put down Lies and picked up The Hidden Reality by Brian Green, who was discussing, when I left him, the cosmological constant. This is one of many elements in our universe that is little understood but has bearing on whether or not we, Earth, our solar system, could even exist. I suffered through several pages of math and put the book down.

Opening the door for the cat I saw that despite the shorter days and colder temperatures the geraniums on the porch are still blooming. I will have to bring them in soon, before they die in a freeze. This thought reminded me of a podcast from yesterday, about a distinguished biologist with dozens of peer-reviewed publications to her credit, who works with plants and has proven through experiment that plants both learn and remember and recognize sounds. How can this be?

I am thankful for all these ideas that are so easily available; thankful for science and the mystery, for the measurable and the imaginary. How lucky we are to be here now, on this beautiful planet in this unfathomable universe. I am grateful to all who return to read my often erratic reflections, and I send you thanksgiving blessings.