Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tryptophan, Trees, and Thankfulness

I must begin by confessing that Thanksgiving is one of my least favorite holidays - not because of its intention, but because of the way we go about "celebrating."

Most of us run ourselves ragged preparing a meal that amounts to enough food for a week or two but is consumed in one afternoon in a time span that is probably equal to one tenth of the time it takes to make it all. We tried to keep it simple this year. Our gathering was small, only five of us and everyone made their own favorite dish. Weber smoked the turkey and made bread, Mike made sweet potatoes and pies, Erin made the green beans and gravy, and I was left with mashed potatoes and dressing. The traditional Thanksgiving meal is definitely not vegan friendly so Brooke sautéed some spinach, had mashed potatoes that I had made with soy milk. We all had plenty to eat and plenty of leftovers for the days to come.

As I was waiting for various things to make their way in and out of the oven, I took a moment to look out the window. All of the sudden, it looked like fall. The grass is brown; many of the trees are bare and the ones that have not lost their leaves don vibrant shades of orange and red. I must say, I was a little startled by this observation. The day before Thanksgiving it had been 80 degrees. In fact, Brooke got off the plane from Chicago and the first words out of her mouth were, "Why is it so F@#$ hot here?" By the time we awoke Thursday morning, the temperature had dropped by more than half of its previous day's reading. It truly felt like we had skipped fall and moved directly to winter. Add to that all of the Christmas ads in the newspaper and the carols on all the TV commercials and you have all the makings of the early stages of a winter wonderland.

In a lull between culinary responsibilities, I took a walk around the yard looking at the trees.

These images don't compare to the majesty of snow capped mountains or seagulls soaring over ocean waves or forests that have been around for generations.; they are snapshots of the everyday, the simple beauty that resides literally in our own backyard. They remind me of how quickly things change. They are also evidence that things must change to continue to grow. And, that there is beauty and something for which to be thankful at every stage during the process of change.

No matter how bare things may seem, a glimpse of beauty is always possible.