Give thanks for the change in the air, the gently drifting leaves, crunching underfoot. For the salt air hanging thick, spraying off big winter swells. Give thanks for turning of tides, comfortable and anticipated or adventuresome and unnerving. Give thanks for the pilgrimage.
Give thanks for the getting outside of ourselves, for the ways we see through eyes of another, the toothless man on the sidewalk staring into his hands, the toughened teenage group-home girl, both drifting on an invisible thread of prospect. Give thanks for the willingness of another to extend a hand deep into the human heart, reaching out, reaching in. Give thanks for courage.
Give thanks for the family we were born into, or perhaps the one who chose us. For the nephew with the milk mustache, the toddler who shows up at the table only in fire engine skivvies. For the heartsick teen, appearing contemplative and prayerful yet secretly texting the object of her affection under the table. Give thanks for the matriarch, lines ever deepening around the lips which still have hundreds of thousands of kisses left in them. For the teary-eyed uncle who, after a few too many, has an 'I love you, man' moment with every member of the family. Give thanks for the Auntie who says 'pah' when speaking of pie, for the cousin who tips back his head and squirts the whip cream directly down the hatch. Give thanks for a sense of humor.
Give thanks for the way a spilled plate of yams and turkey means the dog can whisk it away and the family will still eat. The way we thumb through glossy magazines, eager to try a new recipe, the fortune to cook with any ingredient we choose. Give thanks that overeating is the struggle, not lack, that light and heat are standard, not luxury. Give thanks for plenty.
Give thanks, for the ones around the table who love your face, or for the solitary candlelit dinner you share with the One who made you, we are not alone even if it feels so at times. Give thanks for memories of those whose faces we miss, for the one who dressed like an Indian with her mama, who made pinecone turkeys with real feathers, who is crossed over into an eternity of giving thanks, looking right into the eyes of the Giver. Give thanks for love.