There are Many Types of Resurrection
Alone for the first time in 17 years on the strange holiday. What is Thanksgiving anyway, particularly now, under the false rule of a small idiot whose primary claim to power is simply that he wants it, and has achieved it largely through crude tactics of overt racism?
As a child I made turkeys out of finger tracings, and read stories about benign pilgrims being taught to raise corn by mindlessly beneficent Indians. Thanksgiving, I vaguely understood, was about the first people on this continent – well, the people who counted – figuring out how to feed themselves in their great New Land. It’s a bizarrely Protestant celebration, both suffocating in its formality and messy underneath, and it didn’t take long in my girlhood to see that my archly blue-blooded grandparents were celebrating something slightly more macabre than abundance.
Now I see the holiday, its history and its traditional execution, as more a victory dance than beautiful obeisance to the incalculable riches of this Earth; gone is any reverence for Harvest, which thanks to Monsanto doesn’t exist anymore anyway, and in its place lies that great American disease, obscene gluttony, which extends beyond the dinner table to Black Friday sales of shit no one needs to begin with.
Something tells me, though, that our man-baby in the White House is still cutting out those finger tracings, and counting down the days until his Lady of Education, Betsy DeVos, can issue a decree that writes the presence of original peoples straight out of existence. And then the day can complete its (de)volution to being little more than a command to eat and shop.
Such are the musings of an aging cynical progressive sitting by herself on this particular Thursday evening in late November. Underneath it all, though, is the haunting reality: I miss my children. I miss my (X)husband. I miss having a family. And I am exhausted from this solitude and the grief that threatens daily to metastasize to a full “episode” of Major Depression. I think, actually, I am there…. and those of us who live in this territory also know that one episode is usually more like a series, and that there are many seasons ahead.
I loathe the sentiment of the Holiday, and my loathing, I know, protects my bruised ache for love, for companionship, for some kind of guarantee that I, we, might get out of this thing with someone rooting for us, remembering us; “let me leave,” I think we all mutter to ourselves, “an imprint.”
Buddha said: “Leave no trace,” and instinctively we recognize a truth that begins and ends with these three words. And yet still we stamp our feet in the wet earth, hoping, needing, something to stay behind.
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I despise potatoes. I despise myself if I eat bread, pie, or cheese. And I don’t eat feathered creatures. But I love my children. I love my (X)husband. And despite my years of being intellectually and emotionally averse to the sentimental trappings of holidays, I feel right now like a half-dressed raw urchin standing in an empty wind-swept field. Nothing but mind for miles, and that sort of vista, at least for me, is enough to launch a free-fall beyond the strata of sentiment and grief, all the way down to mere madness.
I have developed an eccentric method for keeping the keening witch within appeased, at least for a few hours. It is a waste, of time, of energy, of life, and it will pass. For now, though, the technique allows me to live in my mind without losing it.
It’s like cards, only with real estate. Pick a state, any state. Well… I must admit to cheating my hand, and skewing hard toward places of great greenery and tremendous bodies of water. Connecticut is aces.
And then, as if my hand bore the heavy diamond of a newlywed, I slowly, with great intention, search the MLS for small farms, historic homes, bucolic villages. On a bad day I’ll even look at schools.
As the game progresses, it ceases to be just lonely fantasy: it transmutes to prayer, perhaps a chant, that I believe will drift magically to (X)husband’s closed heart. “Look. This home has wide planked darkened oak floors and a pure white kitchen with skylights overhead. Outside are trees and a treehouse already in place, a small barn down the road. The attic begs to be a school room for 3 children and there are a few acres of land to roam.
It’s so big. It’s so big and lovely and filled already with children and childhood memories (the lizard that got out, the owl in the attic, the shrieking joy of forbidden rollerskates on slick floors) and I can build a studio and teach and you can work from home, and really, really it’s so perfect and grand and old that you, my husband, will melt into it and I can truly disappear into practice, our children, our bedroom, my studies, that you will hardly know I am there. Seamless, I will be, like the plank floors that lead in perfect patterning to every room.
You will hardly know I’m there. If you can just look. At this House.”
And so through the children and the land and the home, this shroud of invisible thread, and the melodic chanting of this sacred image, my life is returned to me: family, lover, home. And the shroud transforms to tapestry, vivid with silken color.