This past Thanksgiving, we took a vow to make our meal only from locally grown, organic foods. And just like that, the holiday got simpler. For us, “locally-grown” and “organic” meant no noodles, dressing, bread, or pie. Just a beautiful turkey still wearing several of her pin feathers and one sturdy quill we had to remove with a pair of pliers. A mélange of roasted root vegetables, red and yellow beets, rainbow colored carrots, dark orange sweet potatoes, purple onions. And for dessert, Indiana wine, cheeses, and apples.
All told, we spent 1½ hours in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day. Which meant we had time for more important things.
Drinking tea at the kitchen table, for example, our code for watching birds. That day we saw a sooty cloud of juncos . A flock of unpolished gold finches. A color-coordinated troupe of woodpeckers, red-headed, red-bellied, downy. Bird watching is a meditative act, focused, soothing, and un-multitaskable. So is playing Farm Scrabble. Our goal is to use all the tiles, not to keep score. Funny how our heads clear when there is no competition, and we just let the words reveal themselves. S-Y-Z-Y-G-Y, for the record, is an alignment of three celestial bodies.
Before the sun set, we went for a walk in the woods. We expected nothing more than fresh air and exercise and peace of mind. But we found many gifts along the way. Bright green lichens on the boulder at the edge of the blue-black pond. A white petaled fungus, like spring dewdrops on a fallen branch. Red rose hips waving from the rambling rose bush, as if she were drying her freshly painted nails. A fat twig entwined by a golden circlet. A hedge apple, still vibrantly green. A perfect white maple leaf among all the brown leaf litter. A segment of woven wire shaped like a Celtic cross.
Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.