Good to be back, dear blog.  My bad.  More promises I won’t keep about blogging more regularly and all that.  I hope that my excuse of studying for a final that covers an entire year of law school is if not acceptable, at least understandable.

My Thanksgiving post has been, as former GOP candidate and excuse-generator extraordinaire Herman Cain said, “twirling around in my head” for almost 2 weeks now.  And now that I am afflicted with the I-can’t-sleep-for-worrying-about-my-test syndrome, I find myself with the opportunity to write it.

I had a delicious and delightful season of Thanksgiving.  I was able to share it with my daughters and SO’s in Johnson City, TN, where one of my girls lives and learns.  The weather cooperated beautifully, even to the point that we were able to have our feast in the afternoon sun in the backyard, complete with the ubiquitous Boo under the table.  Our food was traditional, save the English marmalade gravy contributed by our very own royal subject, and Glenda’s squeeze, Sam.  The food was scrumptious, the atmosphere intoxicating, the conversation stimulating, and the moment unforgettable.

shamelessly stealing from Google, because epic fail at picture taking myself – our picnic looked a lot like this

There are times, as I’m sure everyone has, when I am so moved by a moment, that I am not only rendered speechless, but physiologically affected with breathlessness and tachycardia.  I have more of these moments in the presence of my children that at any other time.  Thursday was just such a day.

We had enjoyed the usual routine of the pre-preparation activities of grocery shopping, about a half-dozen of us in the store to accomplish that task, and had enjoyed the bawdy hilarity of that spastic chaos.  Then the next day we enjoyed the full day’s preparation of chopping, and stirring, and baking, and sipping, and mixing, and tasting, and hauling the table and chairs to the yard, and carrying the wine and dishes and glasses and flatware until finally it was time to feast.

I’m one of THOSE moms.  I had insisted everyone write a haiku as our pre-meal reflection.  Each of us read another person’s, and in those haikus, some reverent, some not, all creative, as we raised our glasses in toast to gratitude itself, I had my moment.  Looking into the faces of these profoundly important people, I was overwhelmed with how absolutely and completely fortunate I am and have been.

First, to have been here at all.  Of all the millions of biological combinations that could have been at the moment of my conception, and it was my particular egg and sperm, in this country, at that moment, to those people.  To have had the opportunity to have the education I have had, with that family and those friends, the travels I have made, the relationships I’ve been part of, the health I’ve experienced, culminating 51 years later in a sunny backyard in Tennessee with these beautiful people, that wonderful food, in this spectacular country, in this unique time.

same girls, different picnic – epic photo fail, ‘member?

I have always had a recognition of how very fortunate I have been.  When I was a believer I attributed it all to God, and often said a prayer of thanks; for a god who could create universes and intervene in physics and change weather, my little life, while important to me, was not a nanosecond’s work, but I was grateful nonetheless.  As an atheist, who holds no belief in divine intervention, I am utterly astounded at my good fortune.  Daily.  Hourly.  By the second.

My believing friends comment pretty regularly to me that this is a piece of my non-faith they do not understand, this disregard of blessing.  Do not misunderstand me.  My variance with you on the source of the joys in no way detracts from my gratitude for it; in fact, it substantially enhances it.  I remember visiting Arches National Park years ago as a Christian, being moved by the beauty of it, thinking how wonderful it was for God to have simply created it, in the blink of an eye.  Looking at the same view with the eyes of a secularist, processing the years, and forces of wind and water, and effects of gravity and physics, left me silent with deep wonder and awe and respect.

I close with my haiku, which I suppose I could have substituted for this entire post:

Thankful, but to whom?

No, not “To whom?” but “For what?”

Family, life, love

And, as always, in the spirit of gratitude, thanks for reading!