Gratitude, Mandala Series, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2016, photo © 2016 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.
Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’
Posted in Art, Gratitude, Holidays, Mandalas, Personal, Practice, Seasons, Silence, Spirituality, Structure, tagged creating mandalas, end of the year rituals, giving thanks, inspiration, making a Gratitude List, seasonal rituals, Thanksgiving, the practice of gratitude on November 28, 2016| Leave a Comment »
Posted in Body, Bones, Dreams, Gratitude, Holding My Breath, Holidays, I Don't Remember, Life, Personal, Practice, Relationships, Silence, Wake Up, Writers, Writing, tagged addition & subtraction, break from the rat race, community as witness, continue under all circumstances, daily practices, deep listening, don't be tossed away, giving thanks, listen to the Black Dog, make positive effort for the good, marry the night, refuge in the Wind, taking a break, Thanksgiving, the gift of time, the value of being unplugged, using time wisely, yearly practices on November 25, 2011| 13 Comments »
The gift of time. Rocking in a white porch chair, drinking Stash Fusion Green & White tea. My stomach is full on residual Thanksgiving, a small feast for two (plus two cats). I am grateful for those who checked in on red Ravine while I took a break. It started as a short week away from the Internet, and turned into boots on the ground living—time for Liz, for my brother’s visit to Minnesota, for Mr. StripeyPants and Kiev. I checked in with my family on Facebook once in a while, but rarely fired up the laptop during the week. It was refreshing to take time to think, to sit, to be.
I stopped all my practices for a month, including red Ravine. Since 2001, I have done at least two yearly practices, one writing, one visual, each beginning in January and ending in December. Writing practice, haiku, haiga, renga, BlackBerry 365, the Great Round mandala series; I stayed true to them. I honored them. This year it felt like all I was doing was trying to keep up with the many practices I had taken on, my agreements to others, my commitment to myself to keep going for a full year. I made it January through September. It was freeing to choose to take a break rather than force myself to continue.
But I miss this place, this creative space. Something I learned when I stopped doing my practices was that a part of me went into hiding. I am not happy when I am not taking photographs, writing, painting or drawing. Last night Liz and I watched A Very Gaga Thanksgiving. Lady opened up in a short interview. She said her song, “Marry The Night” was about the moment she made a choice to give her all to music. Right or wrong, up or down, her first relationship would be with the music; she would be true to herself. It is another form of befriending the Black Dog, the dark shadowy side that comes with deep exploration of your writing or art.
When I listened to her, I knew she was right. It takes great sacrifice to marry the night. And part of the ritual is to know when you need a break. Near the end of the silent workshops with Natalie in Taos, there is a short meeting with her in the round. We sign up on a sheet of paper taped to the zendo wall. Five or six at a time, we slow walk to the cabin at Mabel Dodge Luhan, take our shoes off, sit in a semi-circle, candles lit, in silence, and Natalie goes around and checks in with each of us. Almost every time, there is one person who says they don’t want to write anymore. Natalie inevitably responds, “Then don’t write. Take a break. See if you come back to it.”
Those words are as important to me as the day at my first workshop when she told us to plan on at least two years of Writing Practice before stopping. Oh, and don’t quit your day job.
If you are listening to your teachers, good advice sticks in your craw, and rises to the surface when you need it. The list of things Natalie has taught me over the years would fill a notebook; I bring each one out as I need it, and practice those I believe will make me a better writer, a better artist, a better person. Sometimes I fail. And that is okay, too.
At the one month mark away from my practices, I started adding them back in, one at a time. I added Writing Practice first and continue to write with my online group. I am grateful they have stuck with me. After a little over two months away, the next thing I am adding back into my practices is red Ravine. I have noticed that I am happiest combining writing and art; red Ravine is a good venue for the collaboration and synthesis that happen between the two. I want to look at restructuring, infusing the past with a burst of new life.
It is Thanksgiving weekend and I have much to be grateful for. I will take time to make my yearly gratitude list and begin work on another mandala. I have not been tossed away. The work continues. Positive effort for the good is the best practical response to a hungry world. I am grateful to be back on the page, thankful you are still here. The silence doesn’t scare me anymore; it is filled with light. The wind bristles and becomes her own wingman, sailing to the next stop. The best I can hope for is a gentle landing.
-posted on red Ravine Friday, November 25th, 2011, Thanksgiving weekend, an edited Writing Practice
Posted in Animals & Critters, Family, Fotoblog, Gratitude, Holding My Breath, Holidays, Home, Life, Love, Nature, Obituaries & Epitaphs, Personal, Photography, Place, Things That Fly, tagged Azul, favorite turkey, Happy Thanksgiving, heritage turkeys, images of turkeys, pet turkeys, raising turkeys, Thanksgiving, turkey lovers, turkeys, turkeys as pets on November 26, 2009| 16 Comments »
The Turkey Who Lived, the story of Azul as told by the girl who loved her most,
© 2004-2009 by Dee. All rights reserved.
She was a blue so light she was almost gray. Jim got her at Miller Feed Shop in Albuquerque’s north valley after first buying and then losing a white baby turkey to a hawk. That turkey, we were later told, would have eventually grown so big that its weight would have broken its legs.
But Azul was a lean heritage turkey. She was made to roam fields. And roam she did. She had an easy relationship with our dogs, who seemed to know that she was as much a part of the family as they were. And she was docile with the girls, which put me at ease. A man I once worked with told me that you should never have turkeys around small children, as the turkeys would see the kids’ shiny eyes and peck them out.
Azul became famous ’round these parts. We lived within walking distance to the elementary school, and my daughters’ teachers regularly took their classes on field trips to our house. Twenty or so excited kids would stand at the fence around the bird pen to see Azul and the other turkeys, along with our chickens and Roosevelt the duck. We even had two bunnies, Diamond-in-the-Rough and Snowball, which if we could catch (they burrowed tunnels from the pen out to the yard) we’d let the students pet.
But Azul’s fame derived mostly because she survived an attack so severe that her innards were exposed. She had flown into the neighbors’ yard, not knowing that their dogs were unfriendly. Immediately a Bassett Hound and German Shepherd cornered and jumped her. The daughter was inside alone but had the wherewithal to call the police. She then went outside and chased the dogs away from Azul until Animal Control arrived and took the wounded turkey to the village offices.
Normally, with injuries that grave, Azul would have been put to sleep. But when the mayor of the village saw our daughter, who with Jim had pulled in seconds behind Animal Control, crying her eyes out when she saw how gory Azul looked, the mayor ordered Frosty, the head dog catcher, to rush the turkey to a local veterinarian. This mayor, who was also a sometimes-actor in Western films, then told Jim that the village would pick up the cost.
Lo and behold, Azul pulled through. She went on to live a relatively long life, giving birth to and raising three or four poults, a combined 20 to 30 turkeys.
Just a couple of weeks ago, however, Azul went missing. We looked high and low for her. She was always the leader of her flock, until this past year. We were down to four turkeys, one being Azul. The two males had plucked out large patches of her feathers. We let her stay outside the pen, being as how she roosted high in the trees to sleep.
One night we heard a commotion and chased off whatever it was that had come around. The next day Azul was gone. There were no feathers, no sign that she’d been taken or hurt. We searched for her for several days, thinking she might have laid eggs underneath brush and was hidden, safe and sound.
We still like to think she just flew high up into the trees where we can’t see her. But she was old for a turkey, and in our hearts we know that she’s gone for good.
Here is the story that Dee wrote about Azul back in 2004, just a few weeks after Azul was attacked by the dogs. Dee was 8 years old, and Azul was just over a year. I’ve corrected typos for ease of reading.
The Turkey Who Lived
One fall day, my dad, M., and me were shopping at K-Mart. We got a lot of stuff. Finally we were headed for home. When we turned on Mockingbird Lane, we saw the Animal Control leaving the road. My dad had a feeling something was wrong!
When we pulled up at our green gate, my dad saw a note left from the Animal Control which read “Your turkey has been attacked by some dogs next door. Sincerely, Frosty.”
My dad told us and I cried, but then I said, “I’ll kill those dogs!”
We met up with them [Animal Control] just in time. Before my dad got out of the car, he said Azul might be dead or dying. While my dad talked I could not tell if Azul was dead or alive, so I got out of the van and went to my turkey and cried when I saw her.
“We will put her to sleep,” the man said. “No!” the mayor said, “you will take her to the vet.”
So they did. The vet stitched her up. We had to put red medicine on her for a week. Now she is better, as if it never happened.
- Word Of The Day: Turklet
- Good Mother, Bad Mother
- Wild Turkeys Of Rioteague Island
- The Great Wild Turkey Experiment Is Failing
- Introducing (Drumroll) The Amazing Turkeys Wallenda
- Just Like A Warm, Fuzzy Lick (Almost)
- Happy Turkeys Day
- Turkeys Are Exhibitionists (And Other Things I’ve Learned From My Feathered Friends)
- Reflections On The Other National Bird
- Giving Thanks
- That Time Of Year Again — Turklets
Postscript: Even though she’s no longer with our flock, we are grateful this Thanksgiving holiday for having had Azul in our lives. She taught us that turkeys were not just some dumb bird you eat once a year. They’re regal and sociable. They’re funny, and most of all, they’re tough.
We’re also thankful today for our family (including the furry, feathered, and scaly), friends, our readers, for nature, writing, art, and all that inspires us.
Happy Thanksgiving, QM and Liz, and both your families!
Posted in Body, Bones, Food, Holidays, Life, Music, Personal, Place, Practice, Relationships, Topic Writing, Writing Practices, tagged community, Family, food fights, food memories, living in Montana, making choices, Thanksgiving, the passage of time, writing about food on December 20, 2008| 12 Comments »
My first and probably last food fight was a snowy Thanksgiving in Missoula, Montana. I was in my 20’s, and since my family lived half way across the country, due East, I formed community with other Montana transplants.
There was Bev from Ohio, K.D. from Los Angeles, Mary from Pennsylvania, Gail from Minnesota, Leslie from Iowa, Lynne from Idaho, to name only a few. Many of us came to Montana via college, the University of Montana, and loved it so much we decided to stay. Others followed friends out West. I had always dreamed of living in the West. One day I just did it; I picked up and moved.
The food fight was after a Thanksgiving feast: big old Butterball turkey, smashed potatoes with skins, homemade gravy and biscuits, cranberries, cornbread stuffing, and pumpkin pies. Back then we all drank, so there was lots of alcohol around. I don’t drink much anymore, a glass of wine on occasion. But then it was different. I would return years later for a reunion of these same friends, and many had gone into recovery. It was good to visit with them sober and clean.
There were a few native Montanans in our group, friends who knew the lay of the land. Some grew up in eastern Montana, Billings, some in the western areas of Great Falls, Missoula, Bozeman, and Helena. I would end up visiting these places over the course of the time I lived there, skiing the valleys, hiking the mountains. I lived in a two-story yellow house on Orange Street near the tracks, when there were no strip malls on Reserve Street, just a series of grassy fields.
The food fight was a culmination of hours of planning, cooking, talking, eating, and playing live music. At the time, we had a drum set, McCartney-style bass, keyboard, and a whole array of random percussion instruments in a basket in the corner. We usually played music together on the Holidays, anything from Joni Mitchell to Neil Young to lots of bluegrass — it was Montana in the 70’s.
That Thanksgiving I ended up with mashed potatoes in my hair. Bev threw a biscuit that landed in a ladle of gravy and splashed up on to our shirts. There were cranberry stains on the table cloth that never came out. I remember those days in Montana as good times, even though we all had our problems. We acted, well, we acted like we had not lived as much life as we have lived now.
Food is a metaphor for substance, nutrition, community, family, and friendship. Food is used to show love and nurturing. Food is mother’s milk. Food is not to be wasted. But it’s not good to take oneself too seriously. A good food fight once in a while never hurt anyone. Still, in some places, food can be scarce.
I have often thought of working in community service over the Holidays, something like a soup kitchen or a food bank. I’ve never done it. But I’m keenly aware this time of year that there are people in this country who don’t have enough to eat. They can’t afford it. You don’t have to go to other parts of the world to see how people without enough money to afford food struggle to make ends meet. How people sometimes have to make choices between healthcare and food.
I know a woman, a single parent, who has five children, temps for work in a corporate office, and has no health insurance. It’s available to her through her temp agency, but by the time she purchases it for herself and her five kids, she doesn’t have a paycheck left. She told me she’s one of those people who falls between the cracks. She works hard but makes too much money to apply for additional support for health insurance.
When faced with hard choices, she chooses nutrition for her family. I guess that’s a different kind of fight — the fight for everyone in this country to have healthcare and plenty of food.
-posted on red Ravine, Saturday, December 20th, 2008
-related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – COOKING FIASCOS
Posted in Animals & Critters, Family, Fotoblog, Holidays, Laughing, Photography, Things That Fly, tagged famous turkeys wallenda, handmade cards, heritage turkeys, pet turkeys, raising turkeys, Thanksgiving, turkey lovers, turkeys, who ya callin' "turkey"? on November 26, 2008| 44 Comments »
My mother-in-law made this…
Happy Thanksgiving, handmade card from Celia, Thanksgiving
2009, image © 2008 by Celia. All rights reserved.
…which made me think of this…
Hand Turkey, remembering how we used to draw turkeys when we were kids, image © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
…which kind of looks like this…(although not really)…
Gray Tom, one of tom turkeys counting his blessings before Thanksgiving, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
…and which looks nothing like this!
Black Tom, glad to be the clever turkey he is, photo © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
Will you be eating
one of these handsome guys
(well, not exactly one of them)
*The Bald Eagle is the symbol of the United States, yet one person believed that the Turkey would have been a more respectable bird to represent our nation.