Happy Thanksgiving!


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Blog: 15 November 2021 – “A Fifth Season” M.Hines

I have a trash compactor in my kitchen.  We added it somewhat skeptically following a neighbor’s recommendation.  I’m glad we did.  It takes large quantities of garbage and compresses them together into a neat square shape.   My husband likes it because there is just one bag to hike up to the road with.  Ok, maybe two.  I was using it the other evening, which seemed to arrive much too quickly now with Daylight Savings time over once again.  I stood meditatively while it hummed away and glanced out the window.  Across our valley, several houses had already put up their Christmas lights.  Perhaps they never took them down from last year; just one of the many perks of living rural.  But I found myself already bemoaning how quickly time was passing.

September days bring a return to school and schedules.  The weather becomes temperamental; reluctant to let go of warm days.  Night-time temperatures begin to dip, providing a preview of things to come as fall progresses into October where temperatures here can be soft and mild one moment and plunge to icy snow within the blink of an eye -usually on Halloween night.  I remember hoofing it through the falling snow when our children were young, longing for a cup of hot cider… of hot anything, hoping this was the last house. Perhaps it’s our desire for more, or our discontent in having ‘only’ four divisions within a year, that we’ve gradually succumbed to acknowledge another addition; commonly known to all as, “The Holiday Season.”

Visually, we appear to celebrate each holiday: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukah- individually for their own merits, but appearances can be deceiving.  Halloween is actually the start of the fifth season and it’s carving out more and more attention each year.   Whereas, over the years, Thanksgiving has diminished to no more than a whistle-stop en route to Christmas. “All Aboard! Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!” We soar past to get on with more important holidays. It reminds me of all those prerequisites we had to take in school.  Instead of embracing each required course to harness the enriching information they provided, we skated through, getting them over with, so we could advance to those classes we felt had more value.

This fleetingness of time isn’t a new or exclusive phenomenon.  Writers have recorded their admonishments to live in the moment for centuries: “Stop and smell the roses (Hagen); Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today (Cherokee Indian Proverb); Don’t let six o’clock ruin two o’clock (unknown); Sufficient unto today are the troubles thereof (Matthew 6); The meeting of two eternities, the past and the future… is precisely the present moment (Thoreau); One today is worth two tomorrows (Ben Franklin); Forever is composed of nows (Emily Dickenson); Nothing is worth more than this day (Goethe); Honor the small things in the present moment [vs] pursuing the idea of greatness (Eckhart Tolle).”

When you think about it, all any of us really has is right here, right now, in this moment and time.  The past is gone, the future hasn’t happened (that’s why there are no solutions there).  Commit to the present, be grateful, and appreciate all the blessings every day brings. Relish each individual holiday –not some encapsulated fifth season. Keep your focus on the present and don’t miss the moments that are truly important:


Love from family and friends

Time spent together in a world relentlessly working to keep us divided

and yes, the food before us (regardless of its preparation)

Focusing on the present may usher in an unexpected and surprising event; the slowing… down… of… time.

Holidays shouldn’t be processed as efficiently as my trash compactor; a nice, tidy, get-to-the-point, (get them over with for some), package to accommodate some deceptively practical, falsely convenient, fifth season.  We make our lists and add on tomorrow’s tasks justifying it all with a strange sensibility of thought: if I can finish everything on my list for today and tomorrow, if I can get everything done right now, then I can relax and enjoy myself.  That never happens though. We’re so busy looking ahead, we forget to look around.  We forfeit participating and enjoying everything right in front of us when anticipating and reacting to what hasn’t even happened yet.  We believe we can control time but when we can’t we wax nostalgic into the past for answers.   Was time really slower back then…?  If so why?

Being present-focused is in opposition to everything our fast-paced, distracting society has conditioned us to be. So, for those who angst and worry about upcoming events (a.k.a. ‘living outside the present’)  remembering these few thoughts might help with the transition back to sanity:

  • Enjoy the blessing of company, but don’t surround yourself with strife
  • Traditions are living, evolving things intended to support and enrich us, not suppress or suffocate us.
  • Hate may enter uninvited, but you control the exit
  • It’s not about perfection; it’s about sharing.  (As Ms. Frizzle always says “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”)
  • Appreciate the moment and allow time to take a holiday too…   if only for one day.

And if everything  goes awry:

Be thankful for the blessing of choice, and remember you have one.  

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” (Emily Post)


The house-dog on his paws outspread, Laid to the fire his drowsy head…

The mug of cider simmered slow, The apples sputtered in a row

And Close at hand the basket stood, with nuts from brown October’s wood.”

(John Greenleaf Whittier 1807-1892, “Snow Bound”)