Belated SMS Thanksgiving

Nov. 25, 2010

We’re on the road again and it makes me want to write. It’s the expanse of fruitless trees with their dried branches adding cracks to the blue sky, the wind hissing through the windows, the tall bales of hay and then the entrance into the walls of pine at the base of Mt. Shasta. Time becomes so much more complete, filling every pore of itself in nature.

Five hours to Weed, California seems like a blink of the eye for us, a small price to pay to be away from the madding crowd and to see snow again. I tell mi abuelita y mi mama: “We’re going to a cabin somewhere in the woods.”

“By yourself? UY! Be careful, people get killed in el monte.” Eh maybe during periods of genocide when the military goes into the rural villages in Guatemala. Maybe then, abuelita. “But you’re driving alone? You’re not going en caravana o con amigos?” Why, I ask her, so we move at someone else’s pace? I don’t think so. “¡Ques’eso!” She laughs, half in disapproval at my American ways and the rest dismissing the ludicrous nature of our behavior. “Make sure you take something to cover your nose from the cold.”

It’s a good time to reflect since we’ve been back for more than a month now and time has passed, water through our fingers, ungraspable. In the distance the snow-capped Cortina Ridge and the sky lighting up the fire of an imminent sunset. “Feliz Día de Gracias.” I tell abuela. I no longer say, “Happy Thanksgiving.” I’m more Guatemalan now and while Thanksgiving Day doesn’t directly tie back to our history, it does hold a symbolic element of being grateful for leaving deprivation and entering a place of plenty. I say entering because many times it’s a mental shift – re-framing a concept of deprivation from not having access or owning materials things to having support, love and freedom. Support from those we love and who love us and to feel free to do things that matter both for us and the world.

I am grateful for this and also for ten years ago when Brad and I wandered into the snow-laden forests of Shasta County and Lassen Volcanic Park in search of hot springs and adventure. We found each other.

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