November 28, 2013

And, just like that, Thanksgiving has come, and will go in just a few hours. I started the day with a little sleep-in, a nice frosty walk in the woods, and a phone call from my sweet Little Sister. I returned home, turned on the oven to play with a new breakfast cake. I played on the trail with Derek, and hit the market for a few last minute items for the simple dinner we’ll make tonight, the snacks we’ll need for tomorrow (football!), and the Turkish inspired feast that I’ll prepare on Saturday — this will be our blow-the-doors-off dinner of the year. I love this type of meal — the one where I pull out all the stops and go crazy with recipes I’ve longed to try, mixing together exciting new flavors with old traditions to make a truly special occasion. But we didn’t have that tonight.

Tonight we had a simple meal of whatever was waiting for us in the fridge. Unable to help myself with all this time to play today, I did whip up my famous apple pie and some salted caramel ice cream to go with it. I rolled the crust out with a wine bottle, since our borrowed kitchen doesn’t have a proper rolling pin. As I type, the pie is sitting on the countertop, surrounded by happy yellow bowls and dirty spoons, steam still rising from the cinnamon crumble-top crust and the gaping missing half that we have already eaten. A football game is playing in the background and the men of the family are challenging one another’s omniscience with regards to whom will win. Our wine glasses are starting to run dry. There is nothing pomp or circumstance about this evening, and I love it.

I missed my family on this day; they’re in Colorado while we’re still here in Portland. I missed the friends with whom I’ve been able to wrangle thankful rides and Friendsgiving feasts in years past. I’m so grateful for them all. But I’m also thankful for the time I had today to work with my hands, to cover my favorite denim apron with flour, to laugh at myself, and to raise glasses with my husband to the year behind us, and the years ahead. And I’m thankful that we’re in this uncertain space and time in our lives — strange, but true.

The first Thanksgiving celebrated by our ancestors wasn’t about bounty; it was about survival, scarcity, perseverance and overcoming obstacles on a road less traveled. It was about dreaming of a brighter future, and being willing to start over to lay the groundwork of a new nation. Somehow, in these last hours of Thanksgiving I find myself thinking more of these dynamic achievements than my usual list of things to be thankful for; rolling pins, bicycles, friends, sunshine.

This year, we’ll make a new home, in a new place and we’ll do so because we know that we can craft a happier life for ourselves than the one we were living on that corner where Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville all meet. For all we know, we could find ourselves two blocks down from that place (!!) but because we’re dreaming of a bigger, brighter future for ourselves, I just know we’ll persevere on that road less traveled.

Here’s hoping that your horizons are bright, bellies full, and hearts happy, everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!

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